Evidence from neuropathological and in vivo neuroimaging studies suggests that the claustrum is important for at least some elements of the neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The close relationship of the claustrum to cholinergic pathways, and its interconnection with mediotemporal structures, should make it come as no surprise that neuronal dysfunction in this structure might play a role in the symptoms of AD. More specifically, neurodegeneration in the claustrum, or disconnection, would impair its proposed integrative functions and, plausibly, result in the appearance of distinctive cognitive dysfunctions, such as the misperception and misinterpretation of reality characteristic of neuropsychiatric symptoms in AD. Evidence is presented that neurons within the claustrum support memory function (both at encoding and retrieval), naming abilities, and may be an important resource for cognitive reserve in ageing. Degeneration here, therefore, probably contributes to cognitive deficits in AD. This chapter reviews the available literature, emphasizing that the detection of claustral involvement is rarely highlighted and interpreted in neuroimaging studies of healthy controls and patients. Based on studies in AD, a speculative interpretation of the role of the claustrum in health and in disease states is outlined.
|Title of host publication||The Claustrum: Structural, Functional, and Clinical Neuroscience|
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2014|
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