We measured magnetization transfer ratios (MTRs) of the hippocampus in 38 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), including very mild (Clinical Dementia Rating [CDR] 0.5, n=12), mild (CDR 1, n=14), and moderate stages (CDR 2, n=12), and in 21 healthy elderly control subjects. Medial temporal lobe atrophy was graded subjectively on a five-point scale by two observers blinded to clinical data. Compared with the controls, each of the AD groups, including the very mild group, had significant atrophy of the medial temporal lobe and a decrease in MTRs of the hippocampus. Logistic regression analysis revealed that the overall discrimination rate with MTR measurement and visual analysis of the atrophy was 85% and 73% between the control group and the CDR 0.5 group, 89% and 80% between the control group and the CDR 1 group, and 100% and 91% between the control group and the CDR 2 group, respectively. MTR measurements may provide additional information in detecting structural damage of the hippocampus of AD and be helpful in providing improved diagnosis and early detection of AD.