Personality factors and cerebral glucose metabolism in community-dwelling older adults

Hamid R. Sohrabi, Kathryn Goozee, Michael Weinborn, Kaikai Shen, Belinda M. Brown, Stephanie R. Rainey-Smith, Olivier Salvado, Kevin Taddei, Romola S. Bucks, Paul Maruff, Simon M. Laws, Nat Lenzo, Manja Laws, Colin DeYoung, Craig Speelman, Christoph Laske, David Ames, Greg Savage, Ralph N. Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Personality factors have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia, but they have not been examined against markers of regional brain glucose metabolism (a primary measure of brain functioning) in older adults without clinically diagnosed cognitive impairment. The relationship between personality factors derived from the five-factor model and cerebral glucose metabolism determined using positron emission tomography (PET) with [18F]-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose (18F-FDG-PET) was examined in a cohort of 237 non-demented, community-dwelling older adults aged 60–89 years (M ± SD = 73.76 ± 6.73). Higher neuroticism and lower scores on extraversion and conscientiousness were significantly associated with decreased glucose metabolism in brain regions typically affected by AD neuropathological processes, including the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex. Furthermore, while there were significant differences between apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele carriers and non-carriers on 18F-FDG-PET results in the neocortex and other brain regions (p < 0.05), there was no significant difference between carriers and non-carriers on personality factors and no significant interactions were found between APOE ε4 carriage and personality factors on brain glucose metabolism. In conclusion, we found significant relationships between personality factors and glucose metabolism in neural regions more susceptible to AD neuropathology in older adults without clinically significant cognitive impairment. These findings support the need for longitudinal research into the potential mechanisms underlying the relationship between personality and dementia risk, including measurement of change in other AD biomarkers (amyloid and tau imaging) and how they correspond to change in personality factors. Future research is also warranted to determine whether timely psychological interventions aimed at personality facets (specific aspects or characteristics of personality factors) can affect imaging or other biomarkers of AD resulting in delay or ideally preventing the onset of the cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1511-1522
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • 18F-FDG PET
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Brain ageing
  • Cerebral glucose metabolism
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Five-factor model
  • Neuroticism
  • Personality


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