The Value of Hippocampal and Temporal Horn Volumes and Rates of Change in Predicting Future Conversion to AD

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Hippocampal pathology occurs early in Alzheimer disease (AD), and atrophy, measured by volumes and volume changes, may predict which subjects will develop AD. Measures of the temporal horn (TH), which is situated adjacent to the hippocampus, may also indicate early changes in AD. Previous studies suggest that these metrics can predict conversion from amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to AD with conversion and volume change measured concurrently. However, the ability of these metrics to predict future conversion has not been investigated. We compared the abilities of hippocampal, TH, and global measures to predict future conversion from MCI to AD. TH, hippocampi, whole brain, and ventricles were measured using baseline and 12-month scans. Boundary shift integral was used to measure the rate of change. We investigated the prediction of conversion between 12 and 24 months in subjects classified as MCI from baseline to 12 months. All measures were predictive of future conversion. Local and global rates of change were similarly predictive of conversion. There was evidence that the TH expansion rate is more predictive than the hippocampal atrophy rate (P=0.023) and that the TH expansion rate is more predictive than the TH volume (P=0.036). Prodromal atrophy rates may be useful predictors of future conversion to sporadic AD from amnestic MCI.

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