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Focal posterior cingulate atrophy in incipient Alzheimer's disease.
Pengas, G., HODGES, J.R., WATSON, P. & Nestor, P.
Neurobiology of Aging, 31(1), 25-33
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Severe posterior cingulate cortex hypometabolism is a feature of incipient, sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD). The aim was to test the hypothesis that this region is focally atrophic in very early disease by studying AD patients at the mild cognitive impairment (MCI) stage, and, if so, to determine whether the amount of atrophy was comparable to that of the hippocampus. Twenty-four patients meeting criteria for amnestic MCI, who all subsequently progressed to fulfil AD criteria, and 25 age-matched controls, were imaged with volumetric MRI. Four regions of interest were manually traced in each hemisphere: two posterior cingulate regions (BA 23 and BA 29/30), the hippocampus (as a positive control) and the anterior cingulate (as a negative control). BA 23 and BA 29/30 were both significantly atrophic and this atrophy was comparable to that found in the hippocampus, in the absence of anterior cingulate cortex atrophy. Contrary to previous reports, there was no evidence that posterior cingulate atrophy is specifically associated with early-onset AD. The results indicate that posterior cingulate cortex atrophy is present from the earliest clinical stage of sporadic AD and that this region is as vulnerable to neurodegeneration as the hippocampus