The cerebellum in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease - a structural MRI study

J Psychiatr Res. 2008 Oct;42(14):1198-202. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2007.12.002. Epub 2008 Jan 22.


Neuropathological research consistently revealed the cerebellum to undergo degenerative changes in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Whether these alterations affect cerebellar morphology in vivo has not yet been investigated in a comprehensive way. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed in 20 patients with AD, 20 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 20 healthy controls. By manual tracing the cerebellum was divided in four substructures (anterior lobe, superior posterior lobe, inferior posterior lobe and corpus medullare, respectively) on each hemisphere. Posterior cerebellar lobes were significantly smaller in AD patients when compared to healthy controls. In the AD group, atrophy of the posterior cerebellar regions was associated with poorer cognitive performance. Our findings lend further support for cerebellar involvement in AD.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Atrophy
  • Cerebellum / pathology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Cognition Disorders / pathology*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Radiography