Hippocampal volume and integrity as predictors of cognitive decline in intact elderly

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Bruno, D ; Ciarleglio, A ; Grothe, M ; Nierenberg, J ; Bachman, A ; Teipel, S ; Petkova, E ; Ardekani, B ; Pomara, N

Risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can be predicted by volumetric analyses of MRI data in the medial temporal lobe. The present study compared a volumetric measurement of the hippocampus to a novel measure of hippocampal integrity derived from the ratio of parenchyma volume over total volume. Participants were cognitively intact and aged 60 or older at baseline, and were tested twice, roughly three years apart. Participants had been recruited for a study on late-life major 34 depression (LLMD) and were evenly split between depressed and controls. Linear regression models were applied to the data with a cognitive composite score as outcome, and hippocampal integrity (HI) and volume (HV), together or separately, as predictors. Subsequent cognitive performance was predicted well by models that include an interaction between HI and LLMD-status, such that lower HI scores predicted more cognitive decline in depressed subjects. More research is needed, but tentative results from this study appear to suggest that the newly introduced measure HI is an effective tool for the purpose of predicting future changes in general cognitive ability, and especially so in individuals with LLMD.
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