Background: Brain atrophy is associated with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and by using volumetric and visual analyzing methods, it is possible to differentiate between individuals with progressive MCI (MCIp) and stable MCI (MCIs). Automated analysis methods detect degenerative changes in the brain earlier and more reliably than visual methods. Purpose: To detect and evaluate structural brain changes between and within the MCIs, MCIp, and control groups during a two-year follow-up period. Material and Methods: Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of 11 participants with MCIs, 18 participants with MCIp, and 84 controls were analyzed by the visual rating method (VRM) and tensor-based morphometry (TBM). Results: At baseline, both VRM and TBM differentiated the whole MCI group (combined MCIs and MCIp) and the MCIp group from the control group, but they did not differentiate the MCIs group from the control group. At follow-up, both methods differentiated the MCIp group from the control group, but minor differences between the MCIs and control groups were only seen by TBM. Neuropsychological tests did not find differences between the MCIs and control groups at follow-up. Neither method revealed relevant signs of brain atrophy progression within or between MCI subgroups during the follow-up time. Conclusion: Both methods are equally good in the evaluation of structural brain changes in MCI if the groups are sufficiently large and the disease progresses to AD. Only TBM disclosed minor atrophic changes in the MCIs group compared to controls at follow-up. The results need to be confirmed with a large patient group and longer follow-up time.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- mild cognitive impairment
- tensor-based morphometry
- Visual rating