White Matter Lesions Are Associated With Progression of Medial Temporal Lobe Atrophy in Alzheimer Disease
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Background and Purpose— Medial temporal lobe atrophy (MTA) is a hallmark of Alzheimer disease (AD). Its progression is often seen during the course of AD, but its frequency and risk factors remain unclear.
Methods— We investigated MTA in 35 patients with AD from whom sequential magnetic resonance imaging scans were available. White matter lesions (WML; for the periventricular [PV] and subcortical [SC] regions separately) and MTA were rated semiquantitatively.
Results— In approximately two thirds of all patients, progression of MTA was found. The mean MTA progression was 0.8 (standard deviation: 0.5) and 0.3 (standard deviation: 0.4) for patients with or without PVWML at baseline (P=0.01). Patients who showed progression of PVWML over the course of their disease had a significantly higher mean progression of MTA than those without PVWML progression (0.9 [SD: 0.4]) and 0.4 [SD: 0.5]; P=0.01). Patients with PVWML at baseline had a 40-fold increased risk for progression of MTA compared with those without baseline PVWML (odds ratio=40.0, 95% CI=1.3 to 1.2×103, P=0.03). Patients with progression of PVWML during the course of the disease had an increased risk for MTA progression (odds ratio=3.7 per unit increase of progression of PVWML, 95% CI=1.1 to 12.9, P=0.04). There was higher risk for progression of MTA for those with progression of PVWML than those without (odds ratio=10.9, 95% CI=1.0 to 122.5, P=0.05). This was not found for SCWML.
Conclusions— Our findings suggest that the presence and the progression of WML are associated with progression of MTA in AD. WML may be a predictor of the course of the disease and a potential treatment target in AD.
- Received February 27, 2006.
- Revision received April 6, 2006.
- Accepted June 7, 2006.