MRI-predicted levels of total tau and beta-amyloid (Aβ) can diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with 75% accuracy, researchers reported in the December 26, 2012, online issue of Neurology. The noninvasive procedure could serve as a surrogate for CSF biomarkers obtained through a lumbar puncture.
Corey T. McMillan, PhD, Research Associate in Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues studied 185 patients with a clinically diagnosed neurodegenerative disease consistent with Alzheimer’s disease or frontotemporal lobar degeneration who had a lumbar puncture and a volumetric MRI. Thirty-two patients had genetic or autopsy-confirmed Alzheimer’s disease or frontotemporal lobar degeneration. The investigators decomposed MRI volumes and used linear regression to predict patients’ CSF total tau and Aβ. They subsequently evaluated the accuracy of MRI-predicted total tau and Aβ using four converging sources, including neuroanatomic visualization and categorization of a subset of patients with genetic or autopsy-confirmed Alzheimer’s disease or frontotemporal lobar degeneration.