Description: Declining physical and cognitive functioning play critical roles in ageing, and reciprocal physio-cognitive decline is inimical to health outcomes. Brain magnetic resonance images from a community-dwelling longitudinal ageing study cohort were analysed to study neuroanatomic changes associated with physio-cognitive decline syndrome (PCDS), defined as dynapenia concomitant with impairment in any cognitive domain, but without dementia. Among 1196 eligible ≥ 50-year-olds (mean age 62) without dementia, 15.9% had PCDS. Compared to robust participants, individuals with PCDS had significantly lower grey matter volume in the bilateral amygdala and thalamus, right hippocampus, right temporo-occipital cortex, and left cerebellum VI and V regions. Diffusion-weighted tractography described disrupted hippocampus-amygdala-cerebellum connections associated with PCDS. The neuroanatomic characteristics revealed by this study provide evidence for pathophysiological processes associated with reciprocal physio-cognitive decline that may differ from those in Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of cognitive impairment. This neurocircuit might constitute a target for future preventive interventions.
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