Frontiers in Neurology, 2024

Clinically feasible automated MRI volumetry of the brain as a prognostic marker in subjective and mild cognitive impairment


Background/aims: The number of patients suffering from cognitive decline and dementia increases, and new possible treatments are being developed. Thus, the need for time efficient and cost-effective methods to facilitate an early diagnosis and prediction of future cognitive decline in patients with early cognitive symptoms is becoming increasingly important. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether an MRI based software, NeuroQuant® (NQ), producing volumetry of the hippocampus and whole brain volume (WBV) could predict: (1) conversion from subjective cognitive decline (SCD) at baseline to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia at follow-up, and from MCI at baseline to dementia at follow-up and (2) progression of cognitive and functional decline defined as an annual increase in the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale Sum of Boxes (CDR-SB) score.

Methods: MRI was performed in 156 patients with SCD or MCI from the memory clinic at Oslo University Hospital (OUH) that had been assessed with NQ and had a clinical follow-up examination. Logistic and linear regression analyses were performed with hippocampus volume and WBV as independent variables, and conversion or progression as dependent variables, adjusting for demographic and other relevant covariates including Mini-Mental State Examination-Norwegian Revised Version score (MMSE-NR) and Apolipoprotein E ɛ4 (APOE ɛ4) carrier status.

Results: Hippocampus volume, but not WBV, was associated with conversion to MCI or dementia, but neither were associated with conversion when adjusting for MMSE-NR. Both hippocampus volume and WBV were associated with progression as measured by the annual change in CDR-SB score in both unadjusted and adjusted analyses.

Conclusion: The results indicate that automated regional MRI volumetry of the hippocampus and WBV can be useful in predicting further cognitive decline in patients with early cognitive symptoms.


Rachel Amland, Geir Selbæk, Anne Brækhus, Trine H. Edwin, Knut Engedal, Anne-Brita Knapskog, Ellen Regine Olsrud, & Karin Persson

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