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Ann Neurol. 2001 Sep;50(3):358-65.

Alzheimer's disease versus dementia with Lewy bodies: cerebral metabolic distinction with autopsy confirmation.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Geriatrics Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Ann Arbor, USA.


Seeking antemortem markers to distinguish Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer's disease (AD), we examined brain glucose metabolism of DLB and AD. Eleven DLB patients (7 Lewy body variant of AD [LBVAD] and 4 pure diffuse Lewy body disease [DLBD]) who had antemortem position emission tomography imaging and autopsy confirmation were compared to 10 autopsy-confirmed pure AD patients. In addition, 53 patients with clinically-diagnosed probable AD, 13 of whom later fulfilled clinical diagnoses of DLB, were examined. Autopsy-confirmed AD and DLB patients showed significant metabolic reductions involving parietotemporal association, posterior cingulate, and frontal association cortices. Only DLB patients showed significant metabolic reductions in the occipital cortex, particularly in the primary visual cortex (LBVAD -23% and DLBD -29% vs AD -8%), which distinguished DLB versus AD with 90% sensitivity and 80% specificity. Multivariate analysis revealed that occipital metabolic changes in DLB were independent from those in the adjacent parietotemporal cortices. Analysis of clinically diagnosed probable AD patients showed a significantly higher frequency of primary visual metabolic reduction among patients who fulfilled later dinical criteria for DLB. In these patients, occipital hypometabolism preceded some clinical features of DLB. Occipital hypometabolism is a potential antemortem marker to distinguish DLB versus AD.

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