Diffusion indices on magnetic resonance imaging and neuropsychological performance in amnestic mild cognitive impairment

Rose, S. E.; McMahon, K. L.; Janke, A. L.; O'Dowd, B.; de Zubicaray, G.; Strudwick, M. W.; Chalk, J. B.
October 2006
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry;Oct2006, Vol. 77 Issue 10, p1122
Academic Journal
Background: Magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) shows promise in tile early detection of microstructural pathophysiolagical changes in the brain. Objectives: To measure microstructural differences in the brains of participants with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) compared with an age-matched control group using an optimised DTI technique with fully automated image analysis tools and to investigate the correlation between diffusivity measurements and neuropsycholagical performance scores across groups. Methods: 34 participants (17 participants with MCI, 17 healthy elderly adults) underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based DTI. To control for the effects of anatomical variation, diffusion images of all participants were registered to standard anatomical space. Significant statistical differences in diffusivity measurements between the two groups were determined on a pixel-by-pixel basis using gaussian random field theory. Results: Significantly raised mean diffusivity measurements (p<0.001) were observed in the left and right entorhinal cortices (BA28), posterior occipital-parietal cortex {BA18 and BA19), right parietal supramarginal gyrus (BA40) and right frontal precentral gyri (BA4 and BA6} in participants with MCI. With respect to fractional anisotropy, participants with MCI had significantly reduced measurements (p<0.001) in the limbic parahippacampal subgyral white matter, right thalamus and left posterior cingulate. Pearson's correlation coefficients calculated across all participants showed significant correlations between neuropsychological assessment scores and regional measurements of mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy. Conclusions: DTI-based diffusivity measures may offer a sensitive method of detecting subtle microstructural brain changes associated with preclinical Alzheimer's disease.


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