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Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2016 Aug 30;3(10):740-751. eCollection 2016 Oct.

Diagnostic utility of ASL-MRI and FDG-PET in the behavioral variant of FTD and AD.

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Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging University of California San Francisco California.
Memory and Aging Center Department of Neurology University of California San Francisco California.
Memory and Aging CenterDepartment of NeurologyUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoCalifornia; School of Public HealthUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyCalifornia.
School of Public Health University of California Berkeley California.



To compare the values of arterial spin-labeled (ASL) MRI and fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET in the diagnosis of behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and Alzheimer's disease (AD).


Partial least squares logistic regression was used to identify voxels with diagnostic value in cerebral blood flow (CBF) and cerebral metabolic rate of glucose (CMRgl) maps from patients with bvFTD (n = 32) and AD (n = 28), who were compared with each other and with cognitively normal controls (CN, n = 15). Diagnostic values of these maps were compared with each other.


Regions that differentiated each disorder from controls were similar for CBF and CMRgl. For differentiating AD from CN, the areas under the curve (AUC) for CBF (0.89) and CMRgl (0.91) were similar, with similar sensitivity (CBF: 86%, CMRgl: 78%) and specificity (CBF: 92%, CMRgl: 100%). Likewise, for differentiating bvFTD from CN performances of CBF (AUC = 0.83) and CMRgl (AUC = 0.85) were equivalent, with similar sensitivity (CBF: 78%, CMRgl: 79%) and specificity (CBF: 92%, CMRgl: 100%). In differentiating bvFTD from AD, classification was again similar for CBF (AUC = 0.87) and CMRgl (AUC = 0.79), as were sensitivity (CBF: 83%, CMRgl: 89%) and specificity (CBF: 93%, CMRgl: 78%). None of the differences in any performance measure were statistically significant.


ASL-MRI has similar diagnostic utility as FDG-PET in the diagnosis of AD and bvFTD. Continued development of ASL-MRI as a diagnostic tool for neurodegenerative dementias is warranted.

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