Evidence of neurodegeneration in brains of older adults who do not yet fulfill MCI criteria

L. L. Chao, S. G. Mueller, S. T. Buckley, K. Peek, S. Raptentsetseng, J. Elman, K. Yaffe, B. L. Miller, J. H. Kramer, C. Madison, Dan M Mungas, N. Schuff, M. W. Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


We sought to determine whether there are structural and metabolic changes in the brains of older adults with cognitive complaints yet who do not meet MCI criteria (i.e., preMCI). We compared the volumes of regional lobar gray matter (GM) and medial temporal lobe structures, including the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex (ERC), fusiform and parahippocampal gyri, and metabolite ratios from the posterior cingulate in individuals who had a Clinical Demetia Rating (CDR) of 0.5, but who did not meet MCI criteria (preMCI, N = 17), patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI, N = 13), and cognitively normal controls (N = 18). Controls had more ERC, fusiform, and frontal gray matter volume than preMCI and MCI subjects and greater parahippocampal volume and more posterior cingulate N-acetylaspartate (NAA)/myoinosotil (mI) than MCI. There were no significant differences between MCI and preMCI subjects on any of these measures. These findings suggest there are neurodegenerative changes in the brains of older adults who have cognitive complaints severe enough to qualify for CDR = 0.5 yet show no deficits on formal neuropsychological testing. The results further support the hypothesis that detection of individuals with very mild forms of Alzheimer's disease (AD) may be facilitated by use of the CDR, which emphasizes changes in cognition over time within individuals rather than comparison with group norms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-377
Number of pages10
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • AD
  • Aging
  • MCI
  • MRS
  • Structural MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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