We determined the rates of lateral ventricular enlargement and decline in cognitive performance for 11 men and nine women with dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT), and compared these rates with the same mea-sures obtained for age-matched healthy controls (nine men and eight women). DAT patients, as a group, had only mild cognitive impairment at initial evaluation, and each patient was followed from 9 months to over 7 years with yearly evaluations. Six DAT patients had isolated memory impairment as their only cognitive deficit early in the course of the disease. The rate of total lateral ventricle enlargement (cnvVyr) was significantly different between DAT and healthy controls, and was more specific and sensitive to the diagnosis of DAT than comparison of cross-sectional volumes at final evaluation. The rate of total lateral ventricular enlargement did not differ significantly by patient sex, ventricular size at initial evaluation, age, or degree of cognitive impairment as measured by Mini Mental State Examination scores. However,- in the six DAT patients initially found to have isolated memory impairment, the rate of ventricular enlargement during the period of isolated memory impairment was significantly less than the rate of ventricular enlargement after the onset of nonmemory cognitive impairment. The diagnostic power of total lateral ventricular measures made from two CTs separated by 1 year and obtained early in the course of the illness, however, was only 0.33. We conclude that the total lateral ventricular enlargement accompanying DAT is due to continuous, pathologic cell loss, significantly greater than cell loss due to the healthy aging process. The rate of total lateral ventricular enlargement very early in the course of Alzheimer's disease is significantly less than the rate of ventricular enlarge-ment is after the onset of nonmemory cognitive deficits but is stable for all other degrees of dementia severity, suggest-ing a biphasic process. Although not diagnostic for the disease early in its course, longitudinal CT measures can still provide a reliable and independent measure of disease progression in patients with DAT.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|State||Published - 1992|
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