ABSTRACT

Background

Cortical neural correlates of ongoing cognitive decline in Parkinson’s disease (PD) have been suggested; however, the role of subcortical structures in longitudinal change of cognitive dysfunction in PD has not been fully investigated. Here, we used automatic analysis to explore subcortical brain structures in patients with PD with mild cognitive impairment that converts into PD with dementia.

Methods

One hundred eighty-two patients with PD with mild cognitive impairment were classified as PD with mild cognitive impairment converters (n = 74) or nonconverters (n = 108), depending on whether they were subsequently diagnosed with dementia in PD. We used surface-based analysis to compare atrophic changes of subcortical brain structures between PD with mild cognitive impairment converters and nonconverters.

Results

PD with mild cognitive impairment converters had lower cognitive composite scores in the attention and frontal executive domains than did nonconverters. Subcortical shape analysis revealed that PD with mild cognitive impairment converters had smaller local shape volumes than did nonconverters in the bilateral thalamus, right caudate, and right hippocampus. Logistic regression analysis showed that local shape volumes in the bilateral thalamus and right caudate were significant independent predictors of PD with mild cognitive impairment converters. In the PD with mild cognitive impairment converter group, thalamic local shape volume was associated with semantic fluency and attentional composite score.

Conclusions

The present data suggest that the local shape volumes of deep subcortical structures, especially in the caudate and thalamus, may serve as important predictors of the development of dementia in patients with PD. © 2017 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society

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