Measurement of temporal regional cerebral perfusion with single-photon emission tomography predicts rate of decline in language function and survival in early Alzheimer's disease

Eur J Nucl Med. 1999 Mar;26(3):265-71. doi: 10.1007/s002590050387.


We determined the relationship between regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) measured with single-photon emission tomography (SPET) and decline in cognitive function and survival in Alzheimer's disease. In a prospective follow-up study, 69 consecutively referred patients with early probable Alzheimer's disease (NINCDS/ADRDA criteria) underwent SPET performed at the time of initial diagnosis using technetium-99m-labelled hexamethylpropylene amine oxime. Neuropsychological function was assessed at baseline and after 6 months and survival data were available on all patients, extending to 5.5 years of follow-up. Lower left temporal (P<0.01) and lower left parietal (P<0.01) rCBF were statistically significantly related to decline in language function after 6 months. The association between left temporal rCBF and survival was also statistically significant (P<0.05) using Cox proportional hazards regression analysis. Performing analysis with quartiles of the distribution, we found a threshold effect for low left temporal rCBF (rCBF<73.7%, P<0. 01) and high risk of mortality. In this lowest quartile, median survival time was 2.7 years (follow-up to 5.2 years), compared with 4.4 years in the other quartiles (follow-up to 5.5 years). Kaplan-Meier survival curves showed statistically significant (P<0. 05, log rank test) survival curves for the lowest versus other quartiles of left temporal rCBF. All results were unaffected by adjustment for age, sex, dementia severity, duration of symptoms, education and ratings of local cortical atrophy. We conclude that left temporal rCBF predicts decline in language function and survival in patients with early probable Alzheimer's disease, with a threshold effect of low rCBF and high risk of mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Alzheimer Disease / mortality
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*