Breton M Asken, William G Mantyh, Renaud La Joie, Amelia Strom, Kaitlin B Casaletto, Adam M Staffaroni, Alexandra C Apple, Cutter A Lindbergh, Leonardo Iaccarino, Michelle You, Harli Grant, Corrina Fonseca, Charles Windon, Kyan Younes, Jeremy Tanner, Gil D Rabinovici, Joel H Kramer, Raquel C Gardner
Brain Imaging Behav . 2021 Jan 11. doi: 10.1007/s11682-020-00440-1. Online ahead of print.
Publication year: 2021

We investigated whether clinically normal older adults with remote, mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) show evidence of higher cortical Aβ burden. Our study included 134 clinically normal older adults (age 74.1 ± 6.8 years, 59.7% female, 85.8% white) who underwent Aβ positron emission tomography (Aβ-PET) and who completed the Ohio State University Traumatic Brain Injury Identification questionnaire. We limited participants to those reporting injuries classified as mTBI. A subset (N = 30) underwent a second Aβ-PET scan (mean 2.7 years later). We examined the effect of remote mTBI on Aβ-PET burden, interactions between remote mTBI and age, sex, and APOE status, longitudinal Aβ accumulation, and the interaction between remote mTBI and Aβ burden on memory and executive functioning. Of 134 participants, 48 (36%) reported remote mTBI (0, N = 86; 1, N = 31, 2+, N = 17; mean 37 ± 23 years since last mTBI). Effect size estimates were small to negligible for the association of remote mTBI with Aβ burden (p = .94, η2 < 0.01), and for all interaction analyses. Longitudinally, we found a non-statistically significant association of those with remote mTBI (N = 11) having a faster rate of Aβ accumulation (B = 0.01, p = .08) than those without (N = 19). There was no significant interaction between remote mTBI and Aβ burden on cognition. In clinically normal older adults, history of mTBI is not associated with greater cortical Aβ burden and does not interact with Aβ burden to impact cognition. Longitudinal analyses suggest remote mTBI may be associated with more rapid cortical Aβ accumulation. This finding warrants further study in larger and more diverse samples with well-characterized lifelong head trauma exposure.