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The present study aimed to clarify the neuropsychological profile of the emergent diagnostic category of Mild Cognitive Impairment with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB) and determine whether domain-specific impairments such as in memory were related to deficits in domain-general cognitive processes (executive function or processing speed).
Patients (n = 83) and healthy age- and sex-matched controls (n = 34) underwent clinical and imaging assessments. Probable MCI-LB (n = 44) and MCI-Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (n = 39) were diagnosed following National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer’s Association (NIA-AA) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) consortium criteria. Neuropsychological measures included cognitive and psychomotor speed, executive function, working memory, and verbal and visuospatial recall.
MCI-LB scored significantly lower than MCI-AD on processing speed [Trail Making Test B: p = .03, g = .45; Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST): p = .04, g = .47; DSST Error Check: p < .001, g = .68] and executive function [Trail Making Test Ratio (A/B): p = .04, g = .52] tasks. MCI-AD performed worse than MCI-LB on memory tasks, specifically visuospatial (Modified Taylor Complex Figure: p = .01, g = .46) and verbal (Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test: p = .04, g = .42) delayed recall measures. Stepwise discriminant analysis correctly classified the subtype in 65.1% of MCI patients (72.7% specificity, 56.4% sensitivity). Processing speed accounted for more group-associated variance in visuospatial and verbal memory in both MCI subtypes than executive function, while no significant relationships between measures were observed in controls (all ps > .05)
MCI-LB was characterized by executive dysfunction and slowed processing speed but did not show the visuospatial dysfunction expected, while MCI-AD displayed an amnestic profile. However, there was considerable neuropsychological profile overlap and processing speed mediated performance in both MCI subtypes.
Dopaminergic imaging is an established biomarker for dementia with Lewy bodies, but its diagnostic accuracy at the mild cognitive impairment (MCI) stage remains uncertain.
To provide robust prospective evidence of the diagnostic accuracy of dopaminergic imaging at the MCI stage to either support or refute its inclusion as a biomarker for the diagnosis of MCI with Lewy bodies.
We conducted a prospective diagnostic accuracy study of baseline dopaminergic imaging with [123I]N-ω-fluoropropyl-2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-iodophenyl)nortropane single-photon emission computerised tomography (123I-FP-CIT SPECT) in 144 patients with MCI. Images were rated as normal or abnormal by a panel of experts with access to striatal binding ratio results. Follow-up consensus diagnosis based on the presence of core features of Lewy body disease was used as the reference standard.
At latest assessment (mean 2 years) 61 patients had probable MCI with Lewy bodies, 26 possible MCI with Lewy bodies and 57 MCI due to Alzheimer's disease. The sensitivity of baseline FP-CIT visual rating for probable MCI with Lewy bodies was 66% (95% CI 52–77%), specificity 88% (76–95%) and accuracy 76% (68–84%), with positive likelihood ratio 5.3.
It is over five times as likely for an abnormal scan to be found in probable MCI with Lewy bodies than MCI due to Alzheimer's disease. Dopaminergic imaging appears to be useful at the MCI stage in cases where Lewy body disease is suspected clinically.
Dopaminergic imaging has high diagnostic accuracy for dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) at the dementia stage. We report the first investigation of dopaminergic imaging at the prodromal stage.
We recruited 75 patients over 60 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), 33 with probable MCI with Lewy body disease (MCI-LB), 15 with possible MCI-LB and 27 with MCI with Alzheimer's disease. All underwent detailed clinical, neurological and neuropsychological assessments and FP-CIT [123I-N-fluoropropyl-2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-iodophenyl)] dopaminergic imaging. FP-CIT scans were blindly rated by a consensus panel and classified as normal or abnormal.
The sensitivity of visually rated FP-CIT imaging to detect combined possible or probable MCI-LB was 54.2% [95% confidence interval (CI) 39.2–68.6], with a specificity of 89.0% (95% CI 70.8–97.6) and a likelihood ratio for MCI-LB of 4.9, indicating that FP-CIT may be a clinically important test in MCI where any characteristic symptoms of Lewy body (LB) disease are present. The sensitivity in probable MCI-LB was 61.0% (95% CI 42.5–77.4) and in possible MCI-LB was 40.0% (95% CI 16.4–67.7).
Dopaminergic imaging had high specificity at the pre-dementia stage and gave a clinically important increase in diagnostic confidence and so should be considered in all patients with MCI who have any of the diagnostic symptoms of DLB. As expected, the sensitivity was lower in MCI-LB than in established DLB, although over 50% still had an abnormal scan. Accurate diagnosis of LB disease is important to enable early optimal treatment for LB symptoms.
The accurate clinical characterisation of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is becoming increasingly important. The aim of this study was to compare the neuropsychiatric symptoms and cognitive profile of MCI with Lewy bodies (MCI-LB) with Alzheimer's disease MCI (MCI-AD).
Participants were ⩾60 years old with MCI. Each had a thorough clinical and neuropsychological assessment and 2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-iodophenyl)-N-(3-fluoropropyl)-nortropane single photon emission computed tomography FP-CIT SPECT). MCI-LB was diagnosed if two or more diagnostic features of dementia with Lewy bodies were present (visual hallucinations, cognitive fluctuations, motor parkinsonism, rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder or positive FP-CIT SPECT). A Lewy body Neuropsychiatric Supportive Symptom Count (LBNSSC) was calculated based on the presence or absence of the supportive neuropsychiatric symptoms defined by the 2017 DLB diagnostic criteria: non-visual hallucinations, delusions, anxiety, depression and apathy.
MCI-LB (n = 41) had a higher LBNSSC than MCI-AD (n = 24; 1.8 ± 1.1 v. 0.7 ± 0.9, p = 0.001). 67% of MCI-LB had two or more of those symptoms, compared with 16% of MCI-AD (Likelihood ratio = 4.2, p < 0.001). MCI-LB subjects scored lower on tests of attention, visuospatial function and verbal fluency. However, cognitive test scores alone did not accurately differentiate MCI-LB from MCI-AD.
MCI-LB is associated with neuropsychiatric symptoms and a cognitive profile similar to established DLB. This supports the concept of identifying MCI-LB based on the presence of core diagnostic features of DLB and abnormal FP-CIT SPECT imaging. The presence of supportive neuropsychiatric clinical features identified in the 2017 DLB diagnostic criteria was helpful in differentiating between MCI-LB and MCI-AD.
Imaging biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease include medial temporal lobe
atrophy (MTLA) depicted on computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI) and patterns of reduced metabolism on fluorodeoxyglucose
positron emission tomography (FDG-PET).
To investigate whether MTLA on head CT predicts the diagnostic usefulness
of an additional FDG-PET scan.
Participants had a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease
(n = 37) or dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB;
n = 30) or were similarly aged controls
(n = 30). We visually rated MTLA on coronally
reconstructed CT scans and, separately and blind to CT ratings, abnormal
appearances on FDG-PET scans.
Using a pre-defined cut-off of MTLA ⩾5 on the Scheltens (0–8) scale, 0/30
controls, 6/30 DLB and 23/30 Alzheimer's disease had marked MTLA. FDG-PET
performed well for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease v. DLB
in the low-MTLA group (sensitivity/specificity of 71%/79%), but in the
high-MTLA group diagnostic performance of FDG-PET was not better than
In the presence of a high degree of MTLA, the most likely diagnosis is
Alzheimer's disease, and an FDG-PET scan will probably not provide
significant diagnostic information. However, in cases without MTLA, if
the diagnosis is unclear, an FDG-PET scan may provide additional
clinically useful diagnostic information.
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a common cause of dementia in the elderly population after Alzheimer's disease (AD), and at early stages differential diagnosis between DLB and AD might be difficult due to their symptomatic overlap, e.g. cognitive and memory impairments. We aimed to investigate functional brain differences between both diseases in patients recently diagnosed.
We investigated regional functional synchronizations using regional homogeneity (ReHo) in patients clinically diagnosed with DLB (n = 19) and AD (n = 18), and for comparisons we also included healthy controls (HC, n = 16). Patient groups were matched by age, education, and by the level of cognitive impairment (MMSE p-value = 0.36). Additionally, correlations between ReHo values and clinical scores were investigated.
The DLB group showed lower ReHo in sensory-motor cortices and higher ReHo in left middle temporal gyrus when compared with HCs (p-value < 0.001 uncorrected). The AD group demonstrated lower ReHo in the cerebellum and higher ReHo in the left/right lingual gyri, precuneus cortex, and other occipital and parietal regions (p-value < 0.001 uncorrected).
Our results agree with previous ReHo investigations in Parkinson's disease (PD), suggesting that functional alterations in motor-related regions might be a characteristic of the Lewy body disease spectrum. However, our results in AD contradict previously reported findings for this disease and ReHo, which we speculate are a reflection of compensatory brain responses at early disease stages. ReHo differences between patient groups were at regions related to the default mode and sensory-motor resting state networks which might reflect the aetiological divergences in the underlying disease processes between AD and DLB.
Background: Differentiating Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), two of the commonest forms of dementia in older age, remains a diagnostic challenge. To assist with better understanding of the differences between the conditions during life, we assessed limbic and subcortical brain volumes in AD, DLB, and healthy older individuals using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), with the hypothesis that when compared with controls, subcortical volumes would be reduced to a greater extent in DLB than in AD.
Methods: One hundred participants (35 healthy controls, 32 AD, and 33 DLB) underwent 3 Tesla T1 weighted MR scanning. Volumes were automatically segmented for each participant using FreeSurfer, then expressed as a percentage of their total intracranial volumes. Group effects were assessed using multivariate analysis of covariance, controlling for age and gender.
Results: Significant group effects were apparent among subcortical brain volumes (F28,162 = 4.8, p < 0.001; Wilk's Λ = 0.30, partial η2 = 0.45), while univariate tests showed differences in all volumetric measures (p < 0.03) except in right caudate (p = 0.08). Post-hoc analyses indicated that while not significantly different from AD, changes compared to healthy subjects in left caudate, bilateral putamen, left thalamus, brainstem and total subcortical grey volume were more pronounced in DLB. Significant differences between AD and DLB were confined to the bilateral hippocampus (DLB > AD, p < 0.008).
Conclusions: For similar levels of dementia severity, DLB appears to have greater involvement of subcortical brain atrophy than AD. Further investigation of the subcortical brain structures in DLB is warranted to fully understand their neurobiological role in this disease.
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) are common forms of dementia, yet diagnosis is often difficult. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is an MR technique used to assess neuronal microstructural integrity that may help develop a better understanding of the differences between the conditions.
We recruited subjects with DLB (n = 35), AD (n = 36), and similar aged healthy controls (n = 35). T1 weighted anatomical and diffusion MR images were acquired at 3 Tesla. Region of interest (ROI) analysis was used to measure fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) in five structures: precuneus, thalamus, pons, midbrain, and amygdala. Where appropriate diffusivity measures (FA, MD) were correlated with selected clinical measures.
Compared to controls, DLB subjects were characterized by reduced FA (p = 0.016) and increased MD (p = 0.007) in the precuneus. Amygdala diffusivity was positively correlated with UPDRS-III score in DLB (p = 0.003). In AD, reduced FA in the precuneus was also observed compared to controls (p = 0.026), and was associated with impaired global cognition (MMSE score) (p = 0.03).
Our findings highlight the potential importance of the precuneus in the pathogenesis of DLB as well as AD. Diffusion tensor MRI may shed new light on the different neurobiological changes underpinning the key clinical features of DLB and AD.
Fluctuating cognition (FC), particularly in attention, is a core and defining symptom in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) but is seen much less frequently in Alzheimer's dementia (AD). However, its neurobiological origin is poorly understood. The aim of our study was therefore to characterize perfusion patterns in DLB patients that are associated with the severity and frequency of FC as measured both clinically and using objective neuropsychological assessments.
Spatial covariance analyses were applied to data derived from single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) HMPAO brain imaging in 19 DLB and 23 AD patients. Patients underwent clinical assessment of their FC and cognitive function as well as objective testing of their attention.
Covariant perfusion principal components (PCs) were not associated with either FC or cognitive or attentional measures in AD. However, in DLB patients, the second PC (defined as DLB-cognitive motor pattern, DLB-PCI2) which was characterized by bilateral relative increases in cerebellum, basal ganglia, and supplementary motor areas and widespread bilateral decreases in parietal regions, positively correlated with poorer cognitive function, increased FC and worse attentional function measured both clinically and neurophysiologically (p < 0.05) as well as with the severity of bradykinesia (p = 0.04).
FC in DLB appears distinct from those seen in AD, and likely to be driven by internal neurobiological perturbations in brain circuitry as evidenced using spatial covariance analyses of cerebral perfusion. FC and certain aspects of attentional dysfunction in DLB may, in part, depend upon both distributed motor and non-motor networks.
Background: Previous studies suggest that posterior cortical atrophy may be a useful marker for early onset Alzheimer's disease (AD). Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is associated with less temporal lobe atrophy than AD, though posterior cortical atrophy may be greater. Therefore, we assessed whether visual rating scales for assessing posterior atrophy (PA), medial temporal lobe atrophy (MTA), and ventricular enlargement (VEn) aid in the discrimination between AD, DLB, and normal aging.
Methods: T1-weighted MRI scans acquired at 3 Tesla were visually rated for PA (range 0–3), MTA (range 0–4), and VEn (range 0–3) in older subjects with AD (n = 36), DLB (n = 35), and healthy controls (n = 35). The diagnostic utility of MTA, PA, and VEn visual ratings in distinguishing AD and DLB from controls as well as AD from DLB was investigated.
Results: Significantly higher MTA ratings were associated with AD and DLB compared to controls (p < 0.001). MTA ratings were greater in AD relative to DLB (U = 384.5, p = 0.004). For PA ratings, scores did not differ between groups (p = 0.20). VEn ratings were significantly higher in AD and DLB compared to controls (p = 0.003), but similar between AD and DLB (U = 384.5, p = 0.4).
Conclusions: Unlike findings reported in younger subjects, visual ratings for PA are not a reliable marker at older ages for distinguishing AD from controls, or for distinguishing DLB from AD. However, visual ratings of MTA and VEn may be useful markers in distinguishing both AD and DLB from older subjects without dementia.
A limited number of studies have demonstrated changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) in older individuals with depression, but there are considerable inconsistencies between studies.
To investigate changes in CBF using arterial spin labelling (ASL) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in people with late-life depression and in a similarly aged healthy control group.
Sixty-eight participants (30 healthy individuals, 38 with depression) underwent ASL and T1-weighted MRI scanning. For each individual, regional estimates of separate grey and white matter CBF were obtained. Group differences in CBF and their associations with clinical features were examined.
Significant increases were observed in white matter CBF in patients with depression relative to the control group (F1,65 = 9.7, P = 0.003). Grey matter CBF in lateral frontal, medial frontal, cingulate, central and parietal regions did not significantly differ between groups (F1,65≤2.1, P≥0.2). A significant correlation was found between white matter CBF and Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) scores in depression (r’ =–0.42, P = 0.03). Further analyses revealed that compared with controls, significant elevation of white matter CBF was apparent in participants whose depression was in remission (n = 21, MADRS≤10, P = 0.001) but not in those with current depression (n = 17, MADRS≥11, P = 0.80).
Findings suggest a compensatory response to white matter pathological change or a response to (or a predictor of) successful antidepressant treatment, perhaps by facilitating neurotransmission in specific circuits and so reducing depressive symptoms.
Structural brain abnormalities are associated with late-life major depression, with numerous studies reporting increased white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and reduced cortical/subcortical grey matter volumes. There is strong evidence linking vascular disease to WMH, but limited evidence on its association with subcortical volumes.
To investigate the relationship of orthostatic blood pressure changes to WMH and subcortical grey matter volumes in late-life depression.
Thirty-eight people with depression and a similarly aged comparison group (n = 30) underwent fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) and T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging as well as systematic orthostatic blood pressure assessments. Volumetric estimates of WMH and subcortical grey matter were obtained for each participant and the relationship to blood pressure drop on active stand was examined.
An association between orthostatic systolic blood pressure drop and WMH volumes in temporal and parietal regions was found in the depression group (age-corrected partial correlation r’ = 0.31–0.35, P<0.05). Subcortical volumes were not related to blood pressure changes or WMH volumes in either group.
We found evidence for an association between the degree of orthostatic systolic blood pressure drop and WMH volume in the depression group. Since blood pressure drops lead to WMH in animals our findings suggest systolic blood pressure drops may be a factor contributing to these lesions in late-life depression.
Background: The aim of this study is to investigate the diagnostic value of perfusion 99mTc-exametazime single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) in the diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) in comparison with dopaminergic 123I-2β-carbomethoxy-3β-(4-iodophenyl)-n-(3-fluoropropyl) nortropane (FP-CIT) SPECT imaging.
Methods: Subjects underwent 99mTc-exametazime scanning (39 controls, 36 AD, 30 DLB) and 123I-FP-CIT scanning (33 controls, 33 AD, 28 DLB). For each scan, five raters performed visual assessments blind to clinical diagnosis on selected transverse 99mTc-exametazime images in standard stereotactic space. Diagnostic accuracy of 99mTc-exametazime was compared to 123I-FP-CIT results for the clinically relevant subgroups AD and DLB using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis.
Results: Inter-rater agreement for categorizing uptake was “moderate” (mean κ = 0.53) for 99mTc-exametazime and “excellent” (mean κ = 0.88) for 123I-FP-CIT. For AD and DLB, consensus rating matched clinical diagnosis in 56% of cases using 99mTc-exametazime and 84% using 123I-FP-CIT. In distinguishing AD from DLB, ROC analysis revealed superior diagnostic accuracy with 123I-FP-CIT (ROC curve area 0.83, sensitivity 78.6%, specificity 87.9%) compared to occipital 99mTc-exametazime (ROC curve area 0.64, sensitivity 64.3%, specificity 63.6%) p = 0.03.
Conclusion: Diagnostic accuracy was superior with 123I-FP-CIT compared to 99mTc-exametazime in the differentiation of DLB from AD.
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