Visual assessment of medical temporal lobe atrophy in demented and healthy control subjects: correlation with volumetry

Psychiatry Res. 1999 Jun 30;90(3):193-9. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4927(99)00016-5.


The present study evaluated the validity of visual rating of medial temporal lobe atrophy on coronal magnetic resonance imaging scans in a population of demented and non-demented individuals. Medial temporal lobe atrophy in 194 subjects was visually rated from hard copies, using a 0-4 rating scale, and a comparison was made with the absolute volumes (ccm) of the medial temporal lobe as estimated with volumetry, using a stereological method. We found a highly significant correlation between the estimated and stereologically measured volumes. There was a 10-fold difference in time spent on rating medial temporal lobe atrophy (1-2 min) vs. time spent calculating the medial temporal lobe volume (10-12 min) on a single subject. The diagnostic accuracy of both methods showed that visual rating was more efficient than volumetry in differentiating Alzheimer's disease from control subjects, We conclude that visual rating is a reliable and fast method to estimate medial temporal lobe atrophy in demented subjects in a clinical setting.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Atrophy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurologic Examination / methods*
  • Observer Variation
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology*