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Individual cerebral metabolic deficits in Alzheimer's disease and amnestic mild cognitive impairment: an FDG PET study

Angelo Del Sole, Francesca Clerici, Arturo Chiti, Michela Lecchi, Claudio Mariani, Laura Maggiore, Lisa Mosconi, Giovanni Lucignani
European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2008, 35 (7): 1357-66
18418593

PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was the identification of group and individual subject patterns of cerebral glucose metabolism (CMRGlu) in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI).

METHODS: [(18)F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET) studies and neuropsychological tests were performed in 16 aMCI patients (ten women, age 75+/-8 years) and in 14 AD patients (ten women, age 75+/-9 years). Comparisons between patient subgroups and with a control population were performed using Statistical Parametric Mapping.

RESULTS: Clusters of low CMRGlu were observed bilaterally in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), in the precuneus, in the inferior parietal lobule and middle temporal gyrus of AD patients. In aMCI patients, reduced CMRGlu was found only in PCC. Areas of low CMRGlu in PCC were wider in AD compared to aMCI and extended to the precuneus, while low CMRGlu was found in the lateral parietal cortex in AD but not in aMCI patients. Individual subject pattern analysis revealed that 86% of AD patients had low CMRGlu in the PCC (including the precuneus in 71%), 71% in the temporal cortex, 64% in the parietal cortex and 35% in the frontal cortex. Among the aMCI patients, 56% had low CMRGlu in the PCC, 44% in the temporal cortex, 18% in the frontal cortex and none in the parietal cortex.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that both AD and aMCI patients have highly heterogeneous metabolic impairment. This potential of individual metabolic PET imaging in patients with AD and aMCI may allow timely identification of brain damage on individual basis and possibly help planning tailored early interventions.

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