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Neurobiol Aging. 2010 Aug;31(8):1312-25. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2010.05.002. Epub 2010 Jun 11.

3D maps localize caudate nucleus atrophy in 400 Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment, and healthy elderly subjects.

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Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, Department of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


MRI research examining structural brain atrophy in Alzheimer's disease (AD) generally focuses on medial temporal and cortical structures, but amyloid and tau deposits also accumulate in the caudate. Here we mapped the 3D profile of caudate atrophy using a surface mapping approach in subjects with AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to identify potential clinical and pathological correlates. 3D surface models of the caudate were automatically extracted from 400 baseline MRI scans (100 AD, 200 MCI, 100 healthy elderly). Compared to controls, caudate volumes were lower in MCI (2.64% left, 4.43% right) and AD (4.74% left, 8.47% right). Caudate atrophy was associated with age, sum-of-boxes and global Clinical Dementia Ratings, Delayed Logical Memory scores, MMSE decline 1 year later, and body mass index. Reduced right (but not left) volume was associated with MCI-to-AD conversion and CSF tau levels. Normal caudate asymmetry (with the right 3.9% larger than left) was lost in AD, suggesting preferential right caudate atrophy. Automated caudate maps may complement other MRI-derived measures of disease burden in AD.

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