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Atrophy of the putamen in dementia Lewy bodies but not Alzheimer's disease - An MRI study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr David Cousins, Dr Emma Burton, Professor David Burn, Dr Anil Gholkar OBE, Professor Ian McKeith, Professor John O'Brien


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Objective: To compare the volume of the putamen on MRI in subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and age-matched normal control subjects, along with the relationship between putamen volume and severity of both extrapyramidal signs and cognitive impairment. Methods: MRI-based volumetric measurements at 1.5 T of total intracranial volume, total brain volume, and putamen volume were acquired in elderly patients with AD (n=27; 77.6 years) and DLB (n=14; 76.2 years) and normal control subjects (n=37; 75.4 years). Patients and control subjects also underwent a standardized neuropsychiatric examination including the motor subsection of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS III) and the Cambridge Cognitive Examination (CAMCOG) with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Results: Patients with DLB had smaller raw putamen volumes than control subjects (right 12.5% reduction, p=0.007; left 13.7% reduction, p=0.003). When putamen volume was normalized to total intracranial volume, patients with DLB had significantly smaller volume ratios than both controls and patients with AD. Patients with AD did not differ from control subjects on any measure of putamen volume. Putamen volume did not correlate with age or with scores on UPDRS III, CAMCOG, or MMSE in any of the groups. Conclusions: Atrophy of the putamen is a feature of DLB. This may be important in understanding the etiology of parkinsonian features seen in DLB, though in this study, no direct correlation was found between degree of volume loss and severity of parkinsonism.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cousins DA, Burton EJ, Burn D, Gholkar A, McKeith IG, O'Brien JT

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Neurology

Year: 2003

Volume: 61

Issue: 9

Pages: 1191-1195

ISSN (print): 0028-3878

ISSN (electronic): 1526-632X

Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins