Biomarker of Brain Metabolism Predicts Fluid Intelligence in Young Adults Interview with:

Aki Nikolaidis, PhD Candidate University of Illinois

Aki Nikolaidis,

Aki Nikolaidis, PhD Candidate
University of Illinois What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We used an advanced imaging technique known as Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging to map the distribution of metabolites in the brain.  We specifically assessed the concentration of N-acetyl Aspartate, NAA, a molecule that is involved in brain metabolic health. We found that NAA in the left fronto-parietal region of the brain was a strong predictor of fluid intelligence, and that this was the case even when controlling for other variables associated with intelligence or NAA. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging is a developing technology that has the potential to provide valuable insight into the relationship of cognitive performance and brain metabolism. This imaging technique may be valuable to clinician researchers who are interested in biomarkers of the effect of an intervention. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Future work would benefit from an expanded and higher resolution metabolite map, this would enable us to get finer assessment of the NAA distribution in the white and gray matter. Also, combining this technique with functional network and structural connectivity analyses would be highly beneficial as well, given that brain metabolism likely is reflected at multiple levels of neuroimaging analysis. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The MRSI technique is rapidly developing and may see increased utility in the future as well. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Aki Nikolaidis, Pauline L. Baniqued, Michael B. Kranz, Claire J. Scavuzzo, Aron K. Barbey, Arthur F. Kramer, and Ryan J. Larsen. Multivariate Associations of Fluid Intelligence and NAA. Cerebral Cortex, March 2016 DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhw070

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Aki Nikolaidis (2016). Biomarker of Brain Metabolism Predicts Fluid Intelligence in Young Adults

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