There is a growing emphasis on examining preclinical levels of Alzheimer's disease (AD)-related pathology in the absence of cognitive impairment. Previous work examining biomarkers has focused almost exclusively on memory, although there is mounting evidence that attention also declines early in disease progression. In the current experiment, 2 attentional control tasks were used to examine alterations in task-evoked functional magnetic resonance imaging data related to biomarkers of AD pathology. Seventy-one cognitively normal individuals (females= 44, mean age= 63.5 years) performed 2 attention-demanding cognitive tasks in a design that modeled both trial- and task-level functional magnetic resonance imaging changes. Biomarkers included amyloid β42, tau, and phosphorylated tau measured from cerebrospinal fluid and positron emission tomography measures of amyloid deposition. Both tasks elicited widespread patterns of activation and deactivation associated with large task-level manipulations of attention. Importantly, results from both tasks indicated that higher levels of tau and phosphorylated tau pathologies were associated with block-level overactivations of attentional control areas. This suggests early alteration in attentional control with rising levels of AD pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1771-1779
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015


  • Alzheimer
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyloid
  • Attention
  • Biomarkers
  • Dementia
  • FMRI
  • Ptau
  • Tau


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