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Poster C135

Hippocampus Subfield Volumes Associated with Spatial Memory Performance in Older Adults At-Risk for Developing Type 2 Diabetes

Poster Session C - Sunday, April 14, 2024, 5:00 – 7:00 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Jennifer Hanna Al-Shaikh1,5 (, Olivia Ghosh-Swaby1,5, Ali Khan2,5, Jane Thornton3,4,5, Lindsay Nagamatsu4,5; 1Graduate Program in Neuroscience, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, 2Department of Medical Biophysics, 3Departments of Family Medicine and Epidemiology & Biostatistics, 4School of Kinesiology, 5University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada

Older adults at-risk for developing type 2 diabetes are more likely to experience accelerated cognitive aging and neurodegeneration due to impaired brain metabolism. Type 2 diabetes is associated with smaller hippocampal volumes, lower hippocampal intrinsic excitability – a process important for memory formation and updating, and poorer spatial memory – a task dependent on the hippocampus to store and retrieve information regarding the location of objects and events within the environment. Our study investigates the relationship between spatial memory, hippocampal subfield volumes, and type 2 diabetes risk in late adulthood to better understand the hippocampal regions impacted during early stages of diabetes and whether they influence spatial working memory performance. Sixty older adults at risk for diabetes participated in this cross-sectional study. Those with untreated depression, neurological impairment, or previous vascular incidents were excluded. Diabetes risk was confirmed through body mass index, hemoglobin A1c levels, fasting glucose levels, and a diabetes questionnaire. Eligible participants completed a touchscreen trial-unique, delayed nonmatching-to-location (TUNL) task to assess spatial working memory, and a 3T MRI scan to acquire T1 weighted images of the hippocampus which were segmented and analyzed using HippUnfold. Results suggest that poorer spatial working memory performance is correlated with smaller hippocampal subfield volumes. Given the strong association between dementia and type 2 diabetes, understanding the early development and cognitive effects of diabetes allows us to uncover opportune moments to begin interventions aimed at preventing or delaying dementia.

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April 13–16  |  2024