MRI-derived entorhinal and hippocampal atrophy in incipient and very mild Alzheimer's disease

Dickerson, B C, I Goncharova, M P Sullivan, C Forchetti, R S Wilson, D A Bennett, L A Beckett and L deToledo-Morrell

Neurobiol Aging. 2001. 22(5):747-54.

With high resolution, quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques, it is now possible to examine alterations in brain anatomy in vivo and to identify regions affected in the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD). In this study, we compared MRI-derived entorhinal and hippocampal volume in healthy elderly controls, patients who presented at the clinic with cognitive complaints, but did not meet criteria for dementia (non-demented), and patients with very mild AD. The two patient groups differed significantly from controls in entorhinal volume, but not from each other; in contrast, they differed from each other, as well as from controls, in hippocampal volume, with the mild AD cases showing the greatest atrophy. Follow-up clinical evaluations available on 23/28 non-demented patients indicated that 12/23 had converted to AD within 12-77 months from the baseline MRI examination. Converters could be best differentiated from non-converters on the basis of entorhinal, but not hippocampal volume. These data suggest that although both the EC and hippocampal formation degenerate before the onset of overt dementia, EC volume is a better predictor of conversion.

Keywords: Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Alzheimer Disease/*pathology; Atrophy; Cognition Disorders/pathology; Disease Progression; Entorhinal Cortex/*pathology; Female; Hippocampus/*pathology; Human; *Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Male; Memory Disorders/pathology; Middle Age; Severity of Illness Index; Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

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