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OBJECTIVE—To examine neurological,
neuropsychological, psychiatric, and cerebral perfusion correlates of
leukoaraiosis in Alzheimer's disease.
METHODS—A consecutive series of patients with probable Alzheimer's disease was assessed with a comprehensive neuropsychological battery, a structured psychiatric evaluation, the unified Parkinson's disease rating scale, MRI, and single photon emission computed tomography with technetium 99m hexamethylpropylene-amine oxime (HMPAO) and regional cerebral perfusion measurements.
RESULTS—Patients with Alzheimer's disease and leukoaraiosis were significantly more apathetic and had significantly more extrapyramidal signs than patients with Alzheimer's disease without leukoaraiosis. Patients with Alzheimer's disease with leukoaraiosis also had significantly lower bilateral perfusion in the basal ganglia, thalamus, and frontal lobes than patients with Alzheimer's disease without leukoaraiosis. On the other hand, there were no significant differences between groups in age, duration of illness, depression scores, severity of delusions, or deficits on specific neuropsychological tasks.
CONCLUSIONS—Leukoaraiosis in Alzheimer's disease may produce significant basal ganglia, and thalamic and frontal lobe dysfunction, which may be associated with more severe apathy and extrapyramidal signs.