Automatic analysis of medial temporal lobe atrophy from structural MRIs for the early assessment of Alzheimer disease

Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Genova, 1-16146, Genova, Italy.
Medical Physics (Impact Factor: 2.64). 08/2009; 36(8):3737-47. DOI: 10.1118/1.3171686
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this study is to develop a software for the extraction of the hippocampus and surrounding medial temporal lobe (MTL) regions from T1-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) images with no interactive input from the user, to introduce a novel statistical indicator, computed on the intensities in the automatically extracted MTL regions, which measures atrophy, and to evaluate the accuracy of the newly developed intensity-based measure of MTL atrophy to (a) distinguish between patients with Alzheimer disease (AD), patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), and elderly controls by using established criteria for patients with AD and aMCI as the reference standard and (b) infer about the clinical outcome of aMCI patients. For the development of the software, the study included 61 patients with mild AD (17 men, 44 women; mean age +/- standard deviation (SD), 75.8 years +/- 7.8; Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) score, 24.1 +/- 3.1), 42 patients with aMCI (11 men, 31 women; mean age +/- SD, 75.2 years +/- 4.9; MMSE score, 27.9 +/- 1.9), and 30 elderly healthy controls (10 men, 20 women; mean age +/- SD, 74.7 years +/- 5.2; MMSE score, 29.1 +/- 0.8). For the evaluation of the statistical indicator, 150 patients with mild AD (62 men, 88 women; mean age +/- SD, 76.3 years +/- 5.8; MMSE score, 23.2 +/- 4.1), 247 patients with aMCI (143 men, 104 women; mean age +/- SD, 75.3 years +/- 6.7; MMSE score, 27.0 +/- 1.8), and 135 elderly healthy controls (61 men, 74 women; mean age +/- SD, 76.4 years +/- 6.1). Fifty aMCI patients were evaluated every 6 months over a 3 year period to assess conversion to AD. For each participant, two subimages of the MTL regions were automatically extracted from T1-weighted MR images with high spatial resolution. An intensity-based MTL atrophy measure was found to separate control, MCI, and AD cohorts. Group differences were assessed by using two-sample t test. Individual classification was analyzed by using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. Compared to controls, significant differences in the intensity-based MTL atrophy measure were detected in both groups of patients (AD vs controls, 0.28 +/- 0.03 vs 0.34 +/- 0.03, P < 0.001; aMCI vs controls, 0.31 +/- 0.03 vs 0.34 +/- 0.03, P < 0.001). Moreover, the subgroup of aMCI converters was significantly different from controls (0.27 +/- 0.034 vs 0.34 +/- 0.03, P < 0.001). Regarding the ROC curve for intergroup discrimination, the area under the curve was 0.863 for AD patients vs controls, 0.746 for all aMCI patients vs controls, and 0.880 for aMCI converters vs controls. With specificity set at 85%, the sensitivity was 74% for AD vs controls, 45% for aMCI vs controls, and 83% for aMCI converters vs controls. The automated analysis of MTL atrophy in the segmented volume is applied to the early assessment of AD, leading to the discrimination of aMCI converters with an average 3 year follow-up. This procedure can provide additional useful information in the early diagnosis of AD.

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Available from: Roberto Bellotti
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    • "CSF tau, phospho-tau, and amyloid measurements are in development [2] [3] but require lumbar puncture; therefore, a noninvasive imaging marker is more appealing for screening outpatients without hospital admission. With this purpose, volumetric MRI measures of mesiotemporal atrophy demonstrated to have some prognostic value [4] [5]. Compared to these volumetric measures of macrostructural damage, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) indexes of microstructural damage within mesiotemporal lobe have shown to better discriminate MCI from controls [6] [7] and to better detect MCI converters [8] [9] [10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hippocampal damage, by DTI or MR volumetry, and PET hypoperfusion of precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex (PC/PCC) were proposed as biomarkers of conversion from preclinical (MCI) to clinical stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD). This study evaluated structural damage, by DTI and MR volumetry, of hippocampi and tracts connecting hippocampus to PC/PCC (hipp-PC/PCC) in 10 AD, 10 MCI, and 18 healthy controls (CTRL). Normalized volumes, mean diffusivity (MD), and fractional anisotropy (FA) were obtained for grey matter (GM), white matter (WM), hippocampi, PC/PCC, and hipp-PC/PCC tracts. In hippocampi and hipp-PC/PCC tracts, decreased volumes and increased MD were found in AD versus CTRL (P < .001). The same results with lower significance (P < .05) were found in MCI versus CTRL. Verbal memory correlated (P < .05) in AD with left hippocampal and hipp-PC/PCC tract MD, and in MCI with FA of total WM. Both DTI and MR volumetry of hippocampi and hipp-PC/PCC tracts detect early signs of AD in MCI patients.
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    • "Those brain changes are prevalent in MCI (Apostolova et al., 2006; Bombois et al., 2008; Calvini et al., 2009; Jack et al., 1999) and have been associated with different memory deficit patterns (Nordahl et al., 2005; Nordlund et al., 2007; Villeneuve et al., 2011). Therefore, they may cause different memory changes in MCI and contribute to cognitive heterogeneity . "
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    • "© 2011 – IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved for discriminating MCI patients [7], and thus allows for a relatively high proportion of false positives. This might be due to the observation that MTL atrophy is not specific for AD, but is present in various other neurodegenerative diseases [1]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Medial temporal lobe (MTL) atrophy is considered to be one of the most important predictors of Alzheimer's disease (AD). This study investigates whether atrophy in parietal and prefrontal areas increases the predictive value of MTL atrophy in three groups of different cognitive status. Seventy-five older adults were classified as cognitively stable (n = 38) or cognitively declining (n = 37) after three years follow-up. At follow-up, the grey matter of the MTL, inferior prefrontal cortex (IPC), and inferior parietal lobule (IPL) was delineated on MRI scans. Six years later, a dementia assessment resulted in distinguishing and separating a third group (n = 9) who can be considered as preclinical AD cases at scan time. Ordinal logistic regressions analysis showed that the left and right MTL, as well as the right IPC and IPL accurately predicted group membership. Receiver Operating Curves showed that the MTL was best in distinguishing cognitively stable from cognitively declining individuals. The accuracy of the differentiation between preclinical AD and cognitively stable participants improved when MTL and IPL volumes were combined, while differentiating preclinical AD and cognitively declined participants was accomplished most accurately by the combined volume of all three areas. We conclude that depending on the current cognitive status of an individual, adding IPL or IPC atrophy improved the accuracy of predicting conversion to AD by up to 22%. Diagnosis of preclinical AD may lead to more false positive outcomes if only the MTL atrophy is considered.
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