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Study Examines Brain Atrophy in Alzheimer's Disease

Disease-tracking techniques may be helpful in evaluating response to new therapies

THURSDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with mild Alzheimer's disease have 10 percent to 15 percent more atrophy of their cortical gray matter than patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment, according to study findings published in the October issue of the Archives of Neurology.

Liana G. Apostolova, M.D., and colleagues from the University of California at Los Angeles analyzed structural magnetic resonance imaging data from 24 patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment and 25 patients with mild Alzheimer's disease using an advanced three-dimensional cortical mapping technique.

The researchers found that cortical atrophy was greater in patients with Alzheimer's disease. There was 15 percent more atrophy in the entorhinal cortex, lateral temporal cortex (right more than left), right parietal cortex, and bilateral precuneus, and 10 to 15 percent more atrophy in the remainder of the cortex.

"There are striking cortical differences between mild Alzheimer's disease and the immediately preceding cognitive state of amnestic mild cognitive impairment," the authors write. "Our method may prove to be a reliable in vivo disease-tracking technique that can also be used for evaluating disease-modifying therapies in the future."

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