Positive affect predicts cerebral glucose metabolism in late middle-aged adults

Nicholas C, Hoscheidt SM, Clark LR, Racine AM, Berman SE, Koscik RL, Maritza Dowling N, Asthana S, Christian BT, Sager MA, Johnson SC.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 2017 Apr 11. [Epub ahead of print]


Positive affect is associated with a number of health benefits; however, few studies have examined the relationship between positive affect and cerebral glucose metabolism, a key energy source for neuronal function and a possible index of brain health. We sought to determine if positive affect was associated with cerebral glucose metabolism in late middle-aged adults (n =134). Participants completed the positive affect subscale of the Center for Epidemiological Studies of Depression Scale (CES-D) at two time points over a two-year period and underwent FDG-PET scanning. After controlling for age, sex, perceived health status, depressive symptoms, anti-depressant use, family history of Alzheimer's disease, APOE ε4 status and interval between visits, positive affect was associated with greater cerebral glucose metabolism across para-/limbic, frontal, temporal, and parietal regions. Our findings provide evidence that positive affect in late midlife is associated with greater brain health in regions involved in affective processing and also known to be susceptible to early neuropathological processes. The current findings may have implications for interventions aimed at increasing positive affect to attenuate early neuropathological changes in at-risk individuals.


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