Automated Imaging Method Identifies Alzheimer's Patients

Can also distinguish mild cognitive impairment based on hippocampal volume

TUESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- An automated method to measure hippocampal volume can accurately distinguish between patients with Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment or healthy elderly patients, according to research published in the July issue of Radiology.

Olivier Colliot, Ph.D., from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, France, and colleagues evaluated the accuracy of automated hippocampal volumetry by three-dimensional T1-weighted MRI with high spatial resolution in 25 patients with Alzheimer's disease, 24 patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment and 25 elderly healthy controls.

The researchers found significant reductions in hippocampal volume in patients with Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment compared with the controls, and in patients with Alzheimer's disease compared with those with cognitive impairment (15 to 32 percent depending on comparison). On the basis of hippocampal volume, individuals were correctly classified as having Alzheimer's disease 84 percent of the time and as having mild cognitive impairment 73 percent of the time.

"This automated method can serve as an alternative to manual tracing and may thus prove useful in assisting with the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease," Colliot and colleagues conclude.

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