Automated cortical thickness measurements from MRI can accurately separate Alzheimer's patients from normal elderly controls.
Lerch JP., Pruessner J., Zijdenbos AP., Collins DL., Teipel SJ., Hampel H., Evans AC.
We investigated the potential of fully automated measurements of cortical thickness to reproduce the clinical diagnosis in Alzheimer's Disease (AD) using 19 patients and 17 healthy controls. Thickness maps were analyzed using three different discriminant techniques to separate patients from controls. All analyses were performed using leave-one-out cross-validation to avoid overtraining of the discriminants. The results show regionally variant patterns of discrimination ability, with over 90% accuracy obtained in the medial temporal lobes and other limbic structures. Multivariate discriminant analysis produced 100% accuracy with six different combinations, all involving the parahippocampal gyrus. We therefore propose automated measurements of cortical thickness as a tool to improve the clinical diagnosis of probable AD, as well as a research method to gain unique insight into the etiology of cortical pathology in the disease.