Brain studies have shown that many older adults who died in car accidents had signs of Alzheimer disease (AD) in their brain. We wanted to examine whether AD biomarkers (cerebrospinal fluid and brain imaging) are related to driving performance among cognitively normal older adults.

We looked at 129 older adults with normal memory and thinking. Each participant had an assessment of their memory and thinking, along with a driving test, and PET amyloid brain imaging and/or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collection. We looked at each type of biomarker (amyloid imaging, CSF amyloid, CSF tau, and CSF tau/amyloid ratios). Our analyses showed that higher CSF ratios and amyloid imaging were associated with more driving errors. Preclinical Alzheimer disease (signs of AD in the brain without cognitive symptoms) may have subtle cognitive and function effects, which alone may go unnoticed. However, when combined, these changes may impact complex behaviors such as driving.

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