Predicting the conversion of mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease based on the volumetric measurements of the selected brain structures in magnetic resonance imaging

Neurol Neurochir Pol. 2015;49(6):349-53. doi: 10.1016/j.pjnns.2015.09.003. Epub 2015 Sep 15.


Introduction: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is defined as abnormal cognitive state, but does not meet the criteria for the diagnosis of dementia. According to the new guidelines Alzheimer's disease (AD) involves not only dementia's phase but also predementia phase which is asymptomatic and pathological process in the brain is already present. For this reason it is very important to determine the suitability of markers which should be positive before onset of the first symptoms. One of these biomarkers is a structural magnetic resonance imaging with hippocampal volumetric assessment. The aim of this study was to investigate the usefulness of structural brain magnetic resonance imaging with volumetric assessment of the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, posterior cingulate gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus, temporal gyri: superior, medial and inferior, to predict the conversion of MCI to AD.

Material and methods: Magnetic resonance imaging of brain was performed at the baseline visit in 101 patients diagnosed with MCI. Clinic follow-ups were scheduled after 6.12 and 24 months.

Results: Amongst 101 patients with MCI, 17 (16.8%) converted into AD within two years of observation. All measured volumes were lower in converters than non-converters. Discriminant analysis was conducted and sensitivity for MCI conversion to AD was 64.7%, specificity 96.4%. 91% of patients were correctly classified (converter or non-converter).

Conclusions: Volumetric measurements may help clinicians to predict MCI conversion to AD but due to low sensitivity it cannot be use separately. The study group requires further observation.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Conversion; Magnetic resonance imaging; Mild cognitive impairment; Volumetry.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Biomarkers
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / pathology
  • Disease Progression*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Biomarkers