COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Structural alteration of the dorsal visual network in DLB patients with visual hallucinations: a cortical thickness MRI study

Stefano Delli Pizzi, Raffaella Franciotti, Armando Tartaro, Massimo Caulo, Astrid Thomas, Marco Onofrj, Laura Bonanni
PloS One 2014, 9 (1): e86624
24466177
Visual hallucinations (VH) represent one of the core features in discriminating dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) from Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Previous studies reported that in DLB patients functional alterations of the parieto-occipital regions were correlated with the presence of VH. The aim of our study was to assess whether morphological changes in specific cortical regions of DLB could be related to the presence and severity of VH. We performed a cortical thickness analysis on magnetic resonance imaging data in a cohort including 18 DLB patients, 15 AD patients and 14 healthy control subjects. Relatively to DLB group, correlation analysis between the cortical thickness and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) hallucination item scores was also performed. Cortical thickness was reduced bilaterally in DLB compared to controls in the pericalcarine and lingual gyri, cuneus, precuneus, superior parietal gyrus. Cortical thinning was found bilaterally in AD compared to controls in temporal cortex including the superior and middle temporal gyrus, part of inferior temporal cortex, temporal pole and insula. Inferior parietal and supramarginal gyri were also affected bilaterally in AD as compared to controls. The comparison between DLB and AD evidenced cortical thinning in DLB group in the right posterior regions including superior parietal gyrus, precuneus, cuneus, pericalcarine and lingual gyri. Furthermore, the correlation analysis between cortical thickness and NPI hallucination item scores showed that the structural alteration in the dorsal visual regions including superior parietal gyrus and precuneus closely correlated with the occurrence and severity of VH. We suggest that structural changes in key regions of the dorsal visual network may play a crucial role in the physiopathology of VH in DLB patients.

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