Cortical gyrification and sulcal spans in early stage Alzheimer's disease

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
PLoS ONE, 2012, 7 (2)
Issue Date:
2012-02-21
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Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by an insidious onset of progressive cerebral atrophy and cognitive decline. Previous research suggests that cortical folding and sulcal width are associated with cognitive function in elderly individuals, and the aim of the present study was to investigate these morphological measures in patients with AD. The sample contained 161 participants, comprising 80 normal controls, 57 patients with very mild AD, and 24 patients with mild AD. From 3D T1-weighted brain scans, automated methods were used to calculate an index of global cortex gyrification and the width of five individual sulci: superior frontal, intra-parietal, superior temporal, central, and Sylvian fissure. We found that global cortex gyrification decreased with increasing severity of AD, and that the width of all individual sulci investigated other than the intra-parietal sulcus was greater in patients with mild AD than in controls. We also found that cognitive functioning, as assessed by Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores, decreased as global cortex gyrification decreased. MMSE scores also decreased in association with a widening of all individual sulci investigated other than the intra-parietal sulcus. The results suggest that abnormalities of global cortex gyrification and regional sulcal span are characteristic of patients with even very mild AD, and could thus facilitate the early diagnosis of this condition. © 2012 Liu et al.
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