The aim of this study was to investigate the progression of cortical thinning and gray-matter (GM) volume loss in early Parkinson's disease (PD). MRI and neuropsychological assessment were obtained at baseline and follow-up (mean ± standard deviation = 35.50 ± 1.88 months) in a group of 16 early-PD patients (H & Y stage ≤II and disease duration ≤5 years) and 15 healthy controls matched for age, gender, and years of education. FreeSurfer software was used for the analysis of cortical thickness as well as for cortical and subcortical volumetric analyses. Voxel-based morphometry analysis was performed using SPM8. Compared to controls, PD patients showed greater regional cortical thinning in bilateral frontotemporal regions as well as greater over-time total GM loss and amygdalar volume reduction. PD patients and controls presented similar over-time changes in cognitive functioning. In early-PD patients, global GM loss, amygdalar atrophy, and cortical thinning in frontotemporal regions are specifically associated with the PD-degenerative process.
Copyright © 2012 Movement Disorder Society.