Hippocampal Volume Loss Measured In Cognitively Impaired
By Anne MacLennan
Hippocampal atrophy rates match both baseline cognitive status and change in
that status over time in elders on the continuum from normal cognition through
to probable Alzheimer's, a study has found.
In older people, the cognitive continuum can be conceptually divided into those
who are functioning normally (controls), those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI)
and those with probable Alzheimer's disease (AD).
This study tested the hypothesis that the annualized rates of hippocampal
atrophy differ as a function of both baseline status and change in clinical
group membership (i.e. control, MCI or AD).
Authors identified 129 subjects from the Mayo Clinic AD Research Center/AD
Patient Registry. All met criteria for normal controls, MCI or probable AD, both
at entry and at time of a clinical follow-up evaluation about three years later.
At both initial assessment and follow-up, each subject underwent a magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) examination of the head and the annualized percentage
change in hippocampal volume was computed. People classified as controls or MCI
at baseline could either remain cognitively stable or decline to a lower
For each of the initial three clinical groups, annualized rates of hippocampal
volume loss decreased progressively in the following order: AD>MC>control.
In the control and MCI groups, those who declined clinically had a significantly
greater rate of volume loss than did those who remained stable.
Mean annualized rates of atrophy by follow-up clinical group were as follows:
control-stable 1.73 per cent, control-decliner 2.81 per cent, MCI-stable 2.55
per cent, MCI-decliner 3.69 per cent, AD 3.5 per cent.
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