Hippocampal volumes in Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease with and without dementia, and in vascular dementia: An MRI study

M P Laakso, K Partanen, P Riekkinen, M Lehtovirta, E L Helkala, M Hallikainen, T Hanninen, P Vainio, H Soininen
Neurology 1996, 46 (3): 678-81
Hippocampal atrophy detected by volumetric MRI is a sensitive feature of early Alzheimer's disease (AD), but there are no studies evaluating hippocampal atrophy by MR volumetry in other dementing diseases. We therefore compared hippocampal volumes in a total of 113 subjects: 50 patients with mild to moderate AD, 9 patients with vascular dementia (VaD), 12 patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) without dementia, 8 patients with PD and dementia (PDD), and 34 elderly control subjects. Thin, coronal, contiguous images were obtained by a 1.5-T MR imager. All patient groups had significantly smaller volumes of the hippocampus compared with the control group. In the PDD group, the absolute volumes were even smaller than in the AD group. In the PD group, the volumes were diminished to a lesser but significant extent. The volumes in the VaD group varied: of nine patients, two had no atrophy, three had unilateral, and four had bilateral atrophy. We postulate that hippocampal atrophy does not seem to be a specific phenomenon of dementia in AD but also occurs in VaD and PDD, and even in PD when no dementia is present. However, coexistence of AD pathology in our PD and VaD patients cannot be ruled out. Further studies with access to neuropathologic data are needed.

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