Medial temporal lobe atrophy on MRI in dementia with Lewy bodies

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To investigate whether medial temporal lobe atrophy (MTA) on MRI is less frequent in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) compared with AD and vascular dementia (VaD), and to determine the diagnostic utility of MTA in the differential diagnosis of dementia.


Coronal T1-weighted 1.0-T MR images were acquired in patients with DLB (consensus criteria; n = 26; mean age, 75.9 years), AD (National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke-Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association; n = 28; mean age, 77.4 years), VaD (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke-Association Internationale pour la Recherche et l'Enseignement en Neurosciences; n = 24; mean age, 76.9 years), and normal control subjects (n = 26; mean age, 76.2 years). Cognitive function was assessed using the Cambridge Cognitive Examination (CAMCOG), and MTA was rated visually using a standardized scale.


MTA was more frequent and severe in all dementia groups compared with control subjects (AD, 100%; VaD, 88%; DLB, 62%; control subjects, 4%; p < 0.001). Comparing dementia groups, MTA scores were significantly lower in DLB than AD (p = 0.002), with a trend toward less atrophy in DLB compared with VaD (p = 0.07). The absence of MTA had a specificity of 100% and 88% for separating DLB from AD and VaD respectively, and a sensitivity of 38%. In patients with DLB, MTA increased with age (r = 0.58, p = 0.002), and in all dementia patients MTA correlated with memory impairment (combined memory score, r = −0.34, p = 0.003) but not total CAMCOG score or other subscales.


Patients with DLB have significantly greater MTA than control subjects but significantly less than those with AD. The authors confirmed that the presence of MTA is useful in detecting AD but less useful in differentiating between dementias. However, in the differentiation of DLB from AD and VaD, the absence of MTA is highly suggestive of a diagnosis of DLB.

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