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Neurosci Lett. 2004 May 6;361(1-3):17-20.

Distribution of cerebral atrophy assessed by magnetic resonance imaging reflects patterns of neuropsychological deficits in Alzheimer's dementia.

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Section of Geriatric Psychiatry, University of Heidelberg, Vossstrasse 4, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany.


Neuropsychological deficits were investigated with respect to regional distribution of cerebral atrophy as assessed by volumetric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 50 patients with Alzheimer's dementia (AD; NINCDS-ADRDA criteria) and 20 healthy volunteers. When compared between groups, test performance of all investigated neuropsychological domains including declarative memory, language, praxia, psychomotor speed, as well as attention and concentration was significantly impaired. These deficits were differentially correlated with regional atrophic changes. In particular, volumes of the right amygdala-hippocampus complex correlated with declarative memory performance, whereas volumes of the left temporo-parietal regions correlated with performance in naming and praxia. Furthermore, left frontal lobe atrophy was associated with verbal fluency. Our data confirm the central role that medial temporal atrophy plays for declarative memory deficits in AD and indicate that additional changes in the parietal, temporal and frontal lobes are responsible for further neuropsychological deficits characteristic of this disorder.

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