FDG-PET measurement is more accurate than neuropsychological assessments to predict global cognitive deterioration in patients with mild cognitive impairment

Neurocase. 2005 Feb;11(1):14-25. doi: 10.1080/13554790490896938.


The accurate prediction, at a pre-dementia stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD), of the subsequent clinical evolution of patients would be a major breakthrough from both therapeutic and research standpoints. Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is presently the most common reference to address the pre-dementia stage of AD. However, previous longitudinal studies on patients with MCI assessing neuropsychological and PET markers of future conversion to AD are sparse and yield discrepant findings, while a comprehensive comparison of the relative accuracy of these two categories of measure is still lacking. In the present study, we assessed the global cognitive decline as measured by the Mattis scale in 18 patients with amnestic MCI over an 18-month follow-up period, studying which subtest of this scale showed significant deterioration over time. Using baseline measurements from neuropsychological evaluation of memory and PET, we then assessed significant markers of global cognitive change, that is, percent annual change in the Mattis scale total score, and searched for the best predictor of this global cognitive decline. Altogether, our results revealed significant decline over the 18-month follow-up period in the total score and the verbal initiation and memory-recall subscores of the Mattis scale. The percent annual change in the total Mattis score significantly correlated with age and baseline performances in delayed episodic memory recall as well as semantic autobiographical and category word fluencies. Regarding functional imaging, significant correlations were also found with baseline PET values in the right temporo-parietal and medial frontal areas. Age and right temporo-parietal PET values were the most significant predictors of subsequent global cognitive decline, and the only ones to survive stepwise regression analyses. Our findings are consistent with previous works showing predominant delayed recall and semantic memory impairment at a pre-dementia stage of AD, as well as early metabolic defects in the temporo-parietal associative cortex. However, they suggest that only the latter predictor is specifically and accurately associated with subsequent cognitive decline in patients with MCI within 18 months of first assessment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain Concussion / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Concussion / pathology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Dementia / diagnostic imaging
  • Dementia / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Regression, Psychology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18