Healthy and Pathological Aging as Revealed by Brain MRI Data

Grunwald M.1, Hensel A.1, Hund-Georgiadis M.2, Kovalev V.A.2, Kruggel F.3, Wolf H.1

1 Department of Psychiatry, University Clinic Leipzig, 2 Max-Planck-Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Leipzig, 3 University of California, Irvine

The term "mild cognitive impairment" (MCI) refers to objective cognitive deficits which are not severe enough to fulfill diagnostic criteria for dementia. It has been shown that a certain percentage of MCI patients develop dementia within a few years whereas others remain stable. This study aims at identifying neurobiological parameters that differentiate between the two alternative progression types of MCI. In an ongoing longitudinal study, two-hundred control probands, patients with MCI and demented patients were examined by neuropsychological tests, genetic and peripheral cellular markers, MRI, and EEG. Global measures of brain volume were found to significantly predict changes of cognitive function. Participants with MCI could be distinguished from participants with normal cognition using hippocampal volume measures with an accuracy of 75%.


Grey and white matter, internal and external cisterns were automatically determined. Six cross-sections of the hippocampus were segmented manually in the coronal plane on both sides. The corpus callosum was outlined manually in the midsagittal plane.


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