Background: A large number of Alzheimer's disease (AD) studies have focused on medial temporal and cortical atrophy, while changes in the basal ganglia or thalamus have received less attention. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the existence of progressive topographical shape changes in the basal ganglia (caudate nucleus, putamen, and globus pallidus) and thalamus concurrent with AD disease progression over three years. This study also examined whether declines in volumes of the basal ganglia or thalamus might be responsible for cognitive decline in patients with AD. Methods: Thirty-six patients with early stage AD and 14 normal control subjects were prospectively recruited for this study. All subjects were assessed with neuropsychological tests and MRI at baseline and Years 1 and 3. A longitudinal shape analysis of the basal ganglia and thalamus was performed by employing a boundary surface-based shape analysis method. Results: AD patients exhibited specific regional atrophy in the right caudate nucleus and the bilateral putamen at baseline, and as the disease progressed, regional atrophic changes in the left caudate nucleus were found to conform to a distinct topography after controlling the total brain volume. Volumetric decline of the caudate nucleus and putamen correlated with cognitive decline in frontal function after controlling for age, gender, education, follow-up years, and total brain volume changes. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that shape changes of the basal ganglia occurred regardless of whole brain atrophy as AD progressed and were also responsible for cognitive decline that was observed from the frontal function tests. Supplementary Tables. JAD132072-Suppl.pdf.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Psychiatry and Mental health