Correlating rates of cerebral atrophy in Parkinson's disease with measures of cognitive decline.
Hu MT., White SJ., Chaudhuri KR., Morris RG., Bydder GM., Brooks DJ.
We studied eight clinically non-demented PD patients and ten age-matched controls with serial volumetric T1-weighted MRI. All PD patients underwent full neuropsychological testing at baseline and follow up scans. Sub-voxel coregistration of the serial MRI scans with quantification of changes in total brain substance and ventricular size per year was performed. The PD patients had significant reductions in both percentage and absolute annual brain volume loss when compared to age-matched controls (p < 0.001). There were significant correlations between reductions in percentage brain volume loss and estimated reductions in performance IQ (r = 0.841, p = 0.004) and full scale IQ (r = 0.63, p = 0.049), measured by subtracting IQ measures at time of follow up scan from premorbid estimates. In conclusion, PD patients have a significant rate of median brain volume loss [10.35 (range) 6.69-16.90 ml/year] with no significant loss seen in age-matched controls, and these changes correlate with global measures of cognitive decline. Further longitudinal studies could evaluate whether serial volumetric MRI is a useful technique in predicting the preclinical onset of dementia in Parkinson's disease patients, and its role in the assessment of putative treatments for slowing disease progression.