Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) is a clinical condition characterized by memory impairment in the absence of any other cognitive impairment and is commonly associated with high conversion to Alzheimer's disease. Recent evidence shows that executive functions and selective attention mechanisms could also be impaired in aMCI. In this study, we investigated performance differences (i.e., reaction times [RTs] and accuracy) between a group of aMCI participants and a group of age-matched healthy individuals on the attentional network task (ANT) focusing on situations with increased interference. In particular, we assessed the relationship between interference and conflict effects and grey matter volumes (GMVs) of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC)/pre-supplementary motor area in the entire sample because of its crucial role in conflict monitoring. When compared with controls, aMCI participants were less accurate on the ANT, showing increased interference and conflict effects, but no differences in RTs. In addition, aMCI participants exhibited lower GMV in the ACC than controls. While better accuracy for interference and conflict effects was associated with an increase of GMV in the ACC for both groups, RTs from the interference effect were negatively correlated with GMV of the ACC only in aMCI participants. In other words, lower GMV values of the ACC were paralleled with significantly impaired performance in terms of interference resolution. In conclusion, our study suggests the presence of a selective impairment in interference and conflict monitoring in aMCI, which in turn is associated with decreased GMVs in the ACC. © 2016 The British Psychological Society.
Borsa, VM., Della Rosa, PA., Catricalà, E., Canini, M., Iadanza, A., Falini, A., Abutalebi, J., & Iannaccone, S. (2018). Interference and conflict monitoring in individuals with amnestic mild cognitive impairment: A structural study of the anterior cingulate cortex. Journal of Neuropsychology, 12(1), 23-40. https://doi.org/10.1111/jnp.12105