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Neuroimage. 2009 Feb 15;44(4):1415-22. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.10.031. Epub 2008 Nov 5.

Baseline and longitudinal patterns of brain atrophy in MCI patients, and their use in prediction of short-term conversion to AD: results from ADNI.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Section of Biomedical Image Analysis, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


High-dimensional pattern classification was applied to baseline and multiple follow-up MRI scans of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) participants with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), in order to investigate the potential of predicting short-term conversion to Alzheimer's Disease (AD) on an individual basis. MCI participants that converted to AD (average follow-up 15 months) displayed significantly lower volumes in a number of grey matter (GM) regions, as well as in the white matter (WM). They also displayed more pronounced periventricular small-vessel pathology, as well as an increased rate of increase of such pathology. Individual person analysis was performed using a pattern classifier previously constructed from AD patients and cognitively normal (CN) individuals to yield an abnormality score that is positive for AD-like brains and negative otherwise. The abnormality scores measured from MCI non-converters (MCI-NC) followed a bimodal distribution, reflecting the heterogeneity of this group, whereas they were positive in almost all MCI converters (MCI-C), indicating extensive patterns of AD-like brain atrophy in almost all MCI-C. Both MCI subgroups had similar MMSE scores at baseline. A more specialized classifier constructed to differentiate converters from non-converters based on their baseline scans provided good classification accuracy reaching 81.5%, evaluated via cross-validation. These pattern classification schemes, which distill spatial patterns of atrophy to a single abnormality score, offer promise as biomarkers of AD and as predictors of subsequent clinical progression, on an individual patient basis.

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