Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is characterized by preserved whole brain and medial temporal lobe volumes compared with Alzheimer's disease dementia (AD) on magnetic resonance imaging. However, frequently coexistent AD-type pathology may influence the pattern of regional brain atrophy rates in DLB patients. We investigated the pattern and magnitude of the atrophy rates from 2 serial MRIs in autopsy-confirmed DLB patients (n = 20) and mixed DLB/AD patients (n = 22), compared with AD (n = 30) and elderly nondemented control subjects (n = 15), followed antemortem. DLB patients without significant AD-type pathology were characterized by lower global and regional rates of atrophy, similar to control subjects. The mixed DLB/AD patients displayed greater atrophy rates in the whole brain, temporoparietal cortices, hippocampus and amygdala, and ventricle expansion, similar to AD patients. In the DLB and DLB/AD patients, the atrophy rates correlated with Braak neurofibrillary tangle stage, cognitive decline, and progression of motor symptoms. Global and regional atrophy rates are associated with AD-type pathology in DLB, and these rates can be used as biomarkers of AD progression in patients with LB pathology.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Atrophy rate; Autopsy-confirmed dementia with Lewy bodies; Braak neurofibrillary tangle stage; Sample size estimate; Serial MRI.
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