Dual-task performance is associated with brain MRI Morphometry in individuals with mild cognitive impairment

Carissa Grijalva, Nima Toosizadeh, Jacob Sindorf, Ying hui Chou, Kaveh Laksari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Cognitive impairment is a critical health problem in the elderly population. Research has shown that patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may develop dementia in later years. Therefore, early identification of MCI could allow for interventions to help delay the progression of this devastating disease. Our objective in this study was to detect the early presence of MCI in elderly patients via neuroimaging and dual-task performance. Methods: Brain MRI scans from 21 older adult volunteers, including cognitively healthy adults (HA, n = 9, age = 68-79 years) and mild cognitively impaired (MCI, n = 12, age = 66-92 years) were analyzed using automatic segmentation techniques. Regional volume, surface area, and thickness measures were correlated with simultaneous performance of motor and cognitive tasks (dual-task) within a novel upper-extremity function (UEF) test, using multivariate analysis of variance models. Results: We found significant associations of dual-task performance with volume of five cortical brain regions (P ≤.048) and thickness of 13 regions (P ≤.043) within the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes. There was a significant interaction effect of cognitive group on dual-task score for the inferior temporal gyrus volume (P ≤.034), and the inferior parietal lobule, inferior temporal gyrus, and middle temporal gyrus average thickness (P ≤.037). Conclusions: This study highlighted the potential of dual-tasking and MRI morphometric changes as a simple and accurate tool for early detection of cognitive impairment among community-dwelling older adults. The strong interaction effects of cognitive group on UEF dual-task score suggest higher association between atrophy of these brain structures and compromised dual-task performance among the MCI group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-601
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neuroimaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2021


  • Automated MRI analysis
  • dual-task
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • upper-extremity function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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