Temporal lobe atrophy on MRI in Parkinson disease with dementia: a comparison with Alzheimer disease and dementia with Lewy bodies

C W C Tam, E J Burton, I G McKeith, D J Burn, J T O'Brien
Neurology 2005 March 8, 64 (5): 861-5

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the extent of medial temporal lobe atrophy (MTA) on MRI in Parkinson disease (PD) with and without dementia compared with Alzheimer disease (AD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and to determine whether MTA correlates with cognitive impairment in PD and PD dementia (PDD).

METHODS: Coronal T1-weighted MRI scans were acquired from control subjects (n = 39) and patients with PD (n = 33), PDD (n = 31), DLB (n = 25), and AD (n = 31), diagnosed according to standardized clinical diagnostic criteria. Cognitive function was assessed using the Cambridge Cognitive Examination (CAMCOG), and MTA was rated visually using a standardized (Scheltens) scale.

RESULTS: More severe MTA was seen in PDD (p = 0.007), DLB (p < 0.001), and AD (p < 0.001) vs control subjects. PD subjects had greater hippocampal atrophy than control subjects (p = 0.015) but less than subjects with DLB and AD, though not with PDD. MTA correlated with CAMCOG score and memory scores in the DLB group and with age in control, PDD, and AD groups. There were no correlations between MTA and cognitive impairment in PD, PDD, and AD. PDD and DLB had a similar profile of cognitive impairment and MTA.

CONCLUSIONS: Medial temporal lobe atrophy (MTA) was seen in cognitively intact older subjects with Parkinson disease (PD) and was not more pronounced in Parkinson disease dementia (PDD). Alzheimer disease (AD) and, to a lesser extent, dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) showed more pronounced MTA. Results suggest early hippocampal involvement in PD and that when dementia develops in PD, anatomic structures apart from the hippocampus are predominantly implicated. Greater hippocampal involvement in AD vs PDD and DLB is consistent with clinical, cognitive, and pathologic differences between the disorders.

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