Research evaluation and diagnosis of probable Alzheimer's disease over the last two decades: I.
ABSTRACT To describe the experience of a research clinic diagnosing AD during the last two decades, with special emphasis on patients who meet the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke-Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association criteria for probable AD, their patterns of clinical presentation, and neuropathologic outcomes.
Probable AD has a heterogeneous clinical presentation, and can occur in the context of complicating factors. There are few reports, and none with this large of a sample, about the pattern of presentation, the nature of comorbidities, and the sensitivity and specificity of diagnosis.
The AD Research Center of Pittsburgh examined 1139 patients with probable AD between April 1983 and February 2000. Of these 1139 probable AD patients, 29 (2.5%) had slow progression, 27 (2%) had rapid progression, 70 (6%) had an atypical presentation, and 85 (7%) had coexistent cerebrovascular disease. Confluent periventricular white matter lesions were found in 348 (30.5%) patients with probable AD. The overall sensitivity for the diagnosis of AD was 97% and the specificity 80%. However, the accuracy for the diagnosis of AD varied over the years: from 1983 to 1989, the sensitivity was 94% and specificity 52%, and from 1990 to 2000, the sensitivity was 98% and specificity 88%.
Although the diagnosis of probable AD has been used to indicate the presence of a homogeneous clinical entity, these patients can vary in presentation, onset, or clinical course. This finding is of particular importance for the understanding of the pathophysiologic basis of the disease, and for the better identification of responders to dementia treatments. Although the sensitivity for the diagnosis of AD remained above 90% over the last two decades, the specificity increased, reflecting progressive improvement in the diagnosis of other dementing disorders.
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ABSTRACT: We evaluated the region-to-region correlation, laterality and asymmetry of amyloid deposition in subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer's disease (AD) using the amyloid tracer, Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB). Seventeen subjects, including 7 with MCI (MMSE 26.7+/-2.4) and 10 with AD (MMSE of 24.8+/-2.7) underwent PiB imaging. Measures of laterality (i.e., group-wise predilection for right or left) and asymmetry (i.e., group-wise predilection for unequal PiB retention between the two hemispheres) were calculated for 17 Regions of Interest (ROIs). Regional correlations were calculated along with within-group and between-groups statistical analyses of laterality and asymmetry metrics. The median correlation between PiB retention across all pairs of ROIs was 0.65, with highest correlations found in areas of highest PiB retention (r=0.74). Overall, PiB retention was symmetric bilaterally, but there was PiB laterality in MCI in dorsal frontal cortex [(t(6)=3.05, p=0.02, L>R] and sensory-motor area [t(6)=3.10, p=0.02, L>R] and in AD in the occipital pole (t(9)=-2.63, p=0.03, R>L). The most significant asymmetries in PiB retention were found in sub-cortical white matter (t(6)=3.99, p=0.01) and middle precuneus [(t(6)=3.57, p=0.01] in MCI, and in lateral temporal cortex (t(9)=3.02, p=0.01) and anterior ventral striatum [t(9)=2.37, p=0.04] in AD. No group differences (AD versus MCI) were detected in laterality [F (1, 15)=0.15, p=0.7] or asymmetry [F (1, 15)=0.7, p=0.42].Journal of Neuroscience Methods 07/2008; 172(2):277-82. DOI:10.1016/j.jneumeth.2008.05.005 · 1.96 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The amyloid cascade hypothesis suggests that the aggregation and deposition of amyloid-beta protein is an initiating event in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Using amyloid imaging technology, such as the positron emission tomography (PET) agent Pittsburgh compound-B (PiB), it is possible to explore the natural history of preclinical amyloid deposition in people at high risk for AD. With this goal in mind, asymptomatic (n = 5) and symptomatic (n = 5) carriers of presenilin-1 (PS1) mutations (C410Y or A426P) that lead to early-onset AD and noncarrier controls from both kindreds (n = 2) were studied with PiB-PET imaging and compared with sporadic AD subjects (n = 12) and controls from the general population (n = 18). We found intense and focal PiB retention in the striatum of all 10 PS1 mutation carriers studied (ages 35-49 years). In most PS1 mutation carriers, there also were increases in PiB retention compared with controls in cortical brain areas, but these increases were not as great as those observed in sporadic AD subjects. The two PS1 mutation carriers with a clinical diagnosis of early-onset AD did not show the typical regional pattern of PiB retention observed in sporadic AD. Postmortem evaluation of tissue from two parents of PS1C410Y subjects in this study confirmed extensive striatal amyloid deposition, along with typical cortical deposition. The early, focal striatal amyloid deposition observed in these PS1 mutation carriers is often is not associated with clinical symptoms.The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 07/2007; 27(23):6174-84. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0730-07.2007 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The proposed dementia precursor state of mild cognitive impairment is emerging as a primary target of aging research. Yet, little is known about the subjective experience of living with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment. This study examines, from the patient's perspective, the experience of living with and making sense of the diagnosis. We recruited 12 older adults with amnestic or nonamnestic mild cognitive impairment from a university-based memory disorders clinic. We conducted in-home, semistructured interviews in order to elicit rich descriptions of the personal experience of having mild cognitive impairment. We used the qualitative method of grounded theory to analyze narrative data. Understanding and coming to terms with the syndrome, or assigning meaning, constituted a fundamental aspect of living with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment. This process comprised interrelated emotional and cognitive dimensions. Participants employed a range of positive, neutral, and negative phrasing in order to depict their emotional reactions to receiving a diagnosis. Cognitive representations of mild cognitive impairment included both prognosis-focused and face-value appraisals. Expectations of normal aging, personal experience with dementia, and concurrent health problems were key contextual factors that provided the backdrop against which participants assigned meaning to a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment. Clinicians who disclose diagnoses of mild cognitive impairment need to be mindful of the potential for varying interpretations of the information that is conveyed. Future research needs to include systematic, longitudinal investigations of illness representation and its impact on health behaviors among individuals with mild cognitive impairment.The Gerontologist 01/2007; 46(6):791-800. DOI:10.1093/geront/46.6.791 · 2.48 Impact Factor