Background: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) acquisition/processing techniques assess brain volumes to explore neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Objective: We examined the clinical utility of MSmetrix and investigated if automated MRI volumes could discriminate between groups covering the AD continuum and could be used as a predictor for clinical progression.
Methods: The Belgian Dementia Council initiated a retrospective, multi-center study and analyzed whole brain (WB), grey matter (GM), white matter (WM), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), cortical GM (CGM) volumes, and WM hyperintensities (WMH) using MSmetrix in the AD continuum. Baseline (n = 887) and follow-up (FU, n = 95) T1-weighted brain MRIs and time-linked neuropsychological data were available.
Results: The cohort consisted of cognitively healthy controls (HC, n = 93), subjective cognitive decline (n = 102), mild cognitive impairment (MCI, n = 379), and AD dementia (n = 313). Baseline WB and GM volumes could accurately discriminate between clinical diagnostic groups and were significantly decreased with increasing cognitive impairment. MCI patients had a significantly larger change in WB, GM, and CGM volumes based on two MRIs (n = 95) compared to HC (FU>24months, p = 0.020). Linear regression models showed that baseline atrophy of WB, GM, CGM, and increased CSF volumes predicted cognitive impairment.
Conclusion: WB and GM volumes extracted by MSmetrix could be used to define the clinical spectrum of AD accurately and along with CGM, they are able to predict cognitive impairment based on (decline in) MMSE scores. Therefore, MSmetrix can support clinicians in their diagnostic decisions, is able to detect clinical disease progression, and is of help to stratify populations for clinical trials.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; MSmetrix; biomarkers; magnetic resonance image; volumetry.