Two techniques employed for the early diagnosis of dementia are the imaging of amyloid-β protein using positron emission tomography (PET) and voxel-based morphometry analysis of MRI (VBM-MRI). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical utility of amyloid PET and VBM-MRI for the early diagnosis and tracking of the severity of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The neuritic plaque burden and gray matter losses were evaluated using [11C]BF-227-PET and VBM-MRI in 12 healthy controls, 13 subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), including 6 who converted to AD and 7 who did not convert, and 15 AD patients. The AD patients and the MCI converters exhibited a neocortical retention of BF-227 and parahippocampal gray matter loss shown by VBM-MRI. The MCI converters were more clearly distinguished from the MCI non-converters in BF-227-PET than VBM-MRI. The combined sample of the MCI converters and AD patients showed a significant correlation of MMSE scores with the global gray matter loss, but not with the BF-227 retention. These findings suggest that amyloid PET using [11C]BF-227 is better suited for the prediction of conversion from MCI to AD, while VBM-MRI appears to be better suited for tracking the severity of dementia.
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