Diffusion tensor in posterior cingulate gyrus: correlation with cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease

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To determine whether the diffusion abnormalities in brains with Alzheimer's disease (AD) correlate with disease severity, we studied 34 AD patients using diffusion tensor MRI. Mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy (FA) as well as three eigenvalues (λ1, λ2, and λ3) of the diffusion tensor of the posterior cingulate white matter correlated with the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score. The mean diffusivity and the three eigenvalues showed significant correlation with the MMSE score. On the other hand, no significant correlation was seen between the FA and MMSE score. Our results suggested that mean diffusivity and the eigen-values, but not FA, reflect progression of AD-related histopathlogical changes in the posterior cingulate white matter and may be useful biological indices to monitor AD.

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