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Neurobiol Aging. 2013 Jul;34(7):1740-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2013.01.001. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Changes in subcortical structures in early- versus late-onset Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Patients with early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) are reported to be different from those with late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) in terms of neuropsychological and neuroimaging findings. In this study, we aimed to compare the longitudinal volume changes of 6 subcortical structures (the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, putamen, globus pallidus, and caudate nucleus) between patients with EOAD and LOAD for 3 years. We prospectively recruited 36 patients with probable Alzheimer's disease (14 EOAD, 22 LOAD) and 14 normal control subjects. We analyzed the volume of subcortical structures using an automatic surface-based method. At baseline, there were no differences in the volumes of subcortical structures between patients with EOAD and LOAD. However, over 3 years of longitudinal follow-up, patients with EOAD showed more rapid volumetric decline in the caudate, putamen, and thalamus than patients with LOAD, which is consistent with neuropsychological results. Our findings suggested that the cognitive reserve theory might be applicable to explain different decline rates of the volumes of the basal ganglia and thalamus according to onset age.

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