Scientifc Reports, 2023

Diagnostic accuracy of brain age prediction in a memory clinic population and comparison with clinically available volumetric measures


The aim of this study was to assess the diagnostic validity of a deep learning-based method estimating brain age based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and to compare it with volumetrics obtained using NeuroQuant (NQ) in a clinical cohort. Brain age prediction was performed on minimally processed MRI data using deep convolutional neural networks and an independent training set. The brain age gap (difference between chronological and biological age) was calculated, and volumetrics were performed in 110 patients with dementia (Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and dementia with Lewy bodies), and 122 with non-dementia (subjective and mild cognitive impairment). Area-under-the-curve (AUC) based on receiver operating characteristics and logistic regression analyses were performed. The mean age was 67.1 (9.5) years and 48.7% (113) were females. The dementia versus non-dementia sensitivity and specificity of the volumetric measures exceeded 80% and yielded higher AUCs compared to BAG. The explained variance of the prediction of diagnostic stage increased when BAG was added to the volumetrics. Further, BAG separated patients with FTD from other dementia etiologies with > 80% sensitivity and specificity. NQ volumetrics outperformed BAG in terms of diagnostic discriminatory power but the two methods provided complementary information, and BAG discriminated FTD from other dementia etiologies.


Karin Persson, Esten H Leonardsen, Trine Holt Edwin, Anne-Brita Knapskog, Gro Gujord Tangen, Geir Selbæk, Thomas Wolfers, Lars T Westlye, Knut Engedal

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