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Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2010 Jan-Mar;24(1):43-8. doi: 10.1097/WAD.0b013e3181a6f101.

Longitudinal rates of lobar atrophy in frontotemporal dementia, semantic dementia, and Alzheimer's disease.

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UCSF Department of Neurology, San Francisco, CA, USA.


This study compared rates of regional atrophy in Alzheimer disease (AD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and semantic dementia (SD). Cross-sectional studies have shown that different dementia syndromes are associated with different patterns of regional brain tissue loss. Rates of atrophy over time may be useful for differential diagnosis, and could be used to monitor disease progression, serving as an outcome measure for clinical trials. We studied patients with AD (n=12), FTD (n=13), SD (n=20), and normal controls (n=23) longitudinally with structural magnetic resonance imaging, using BRAINS2 software to measure frontal, temporal, and parietal lobe volumes. In FTD the rate of frontal lobe atrophy over 1 year was greater than in any other group, whereas SD showed the highest rate in the temporal lobes. Atrophy in these regions progressed twice as quickly in FTD and SD compared with AD. Atrophy was not significantly faster for AD in any brain region compared with the other groups. Regional atrophy over time was significantly faster in FTD and SD compared with AD, and the regions of greatest atrophy were specific for each syndrome. Measuring specific regions of cerebral volume changes by serial neuroimaging may serve as a useful biomarker outcome measure for clinical trials in neurodegenerative diseases.

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