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1.  Cognitive impairment, decline and fluctuations in older community-dwelling subjects with Lewy bodies 
Brain  2012;135(10):3005-3014.
Lewy bodies are common in the ageing brain and often co-occur with Alzheimer’s disease pathology. There is little known regarding the independent role of Lewy body pathology in cognition impairment, decline and fluctuations in community-dwelling older persons. We examined the contribution of Lewy body pathology to dementia, global cognition, cognitive domains, cognitive decline and fluctuations in 872 autopsied subjects (mean age = 87.9 years) from the Rush Religious Order Study (n = 491) and Memory and Aging Project (n = 381) longitudinal community-based clinical–pathological studies. Dementia was based on a clinical evaluation; annual cognitive performance tests were used to create a measure of global cognition and five cognitive domains. Lewy body type was determined by using α-synuclein immunostained sections of substantia nigra, limbic and neocortical regions. Statistical models included multiple regression models for dementia and cognition and mixed effects models for decline. Cognitive fluctuations were estimated by comparing standard deviations of individual residuals from mean trajectories of decline in those with and without Lewy bodies. All models controlled for age, sex, education, Alzheimer’s disease pathology and infarcts. One hundred and fifty-seven subjects (18%) exhibited Lewy body pathology (76 neocortical-type, 54 limbic-type and 27 nigra-predominant). One hundred and three (66%) subjects with Lewy body pathology had a pathologic diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Neocortical-type, but not nigral-predominant or limbic-type Lewy body pathology was related to an increased odds of dementia (odds ratio = 3.21; 95% confidence interval = 1.78–5.81) and lower cognition (P < 0.001) including episodic memory function (P < 0.001) proximate to death. Neocortical-type Lewy body pathology was also related to a faster decline in global cognition (P < 0.001), decline in all five specific cognitive domains (all P-values < 0.001), and to fluctuations in decline of working and semantic memory (P-values < 0.001). Limbic-type Lewy body pathology was related to lower and faster decline in visuospatial skills (P = 0.042). The relationship of Lewy body pathology to cognition and dementia was not modified by Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Neocortical-type Lewy body pathology is associated with increased odds of dementia; lower and more rapid decline in all cognitive domains including episodic memory and fluctuations in decline in semantic and working memory. Limbic-type Lewy body pathology is specifically associated with lower and more rapid decline in visuospatial skills. The effect of Lewy body pathology on cognition appears to be independent of Alzheimer’s disease pathology.
PMCID: PMC3470712  PMID: 23065790
Lewy body pathology; cognition; dementia; cognitive decline; fluctuations
2.  Risk of dementia in MCI 
Neurology  2009;72(17):1519-1525.
To investigate the combined ability of hippocampal volumes, 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) metabolites, and cerebrovascular disease to predict the risk of progression to dementia in mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
We identified 151 consecutively recruited subjects with MCI from the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and Patient Registry who underwent MRI and 1H MRS studies at baseline and were followed up with approximately annual clinical examinations. A multivariable proportional hazards model that considered all imaging predictors simultaneously was used to determine whether hippocampal volumes, posterior cingulate gyrus 1H MRS metabolites, white matter hyperintensity load, and presence of cortical and subcortical infarctions are complementary in predicting the risk of progression from MCI to dementia.
Seventy-five subjects with MCI progressed to dementia by last follow-up. The model that best predicted progression to dementia included age, sex, hippocampal volumes, N-acetylaspartate (NAA)/creatine (Cr) on 1H MRS, and cortical infarctions. Based on age- and sex-adjusted Kaplan–Meier plots, we estimated that by 3 years, 26% of the MCI patients with normal hippocampal volumes, NAA/Cr ratios >1 SD, and no cortical infarctions will progress to dementia, compared with 78% of the MCI patients with hippocampal atrophy, low NAA/Cr (≤1 SD), and cortical infarction.
Multiple magnetic resonance (MR) markers of underlying dementia pathologies improve the ability to identify patients with prodromal dementia over a single MR marker, supporting the concept that individuals with multiple brain pathologies have increased odds of dementia compared with individuals with a single pathology.
= Alzheimer disease;
= Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Registry;
= Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center;
= Akaike Information Criteria;
= amnestic mild cognitive impairment;
= Clinical Dementia Rating;
= choline;
= confidence interval;
= creatine;
= dementia with Lewy bodies;
= Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders;
= fluid-attenuated inversion recovery;
= frontotemporal lobar degeneration;
= hazard ratio;
= mild cognitive impairment;
= myoinositol;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= magnetic resonance;
= magnetic resonance spectroscopy;
= N-acetylaspartate;
= nonamnestic mild cognitive impairment;
= National Institute on Aging;
= white matter hyperintensity.
PMCID: PMC2843530  PMID: 19398707
3.  Imaging and acetylcholinesterase inhibitor response in dementia with Lewy bodies 
Brain  2012;135(8):2470-2477.
Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are commonly used to treat patients with dementia with Lewy bodies. Hippocampal atrophy on magnetic resonance imaging and amyloid-β load on positron emission tomography are associated with the Alzheimer’s disease-related pathology in patients with dementia with Lewy bodies. To date, few studies have investigated imaging markers that predict treatment response in patients with dementia with Lewy bodies. Our objective was to determine whether imaging markers of Alzheimer’s disease-related pathology such as hippocampal volume, brain amyloid-β load on 11C Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography predict treatment response to acetylcholinesterase inhibitors in patients with dementia with Lewy bodies. We performed a retrospective analysis on consecutive treatment-naive patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (n = 54) from the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre who subsequently received acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and underwent magnetic resonance imaging with hippocampal volumetry. Baseline and follow-up assessments were obtained with the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale. Subjects were divided into three groups (reliable improvement, stable or reliable decline) using Dementia Rating Scale reliable change indices determined previously. Associations between hippocampal volumes and treatment response were tested with analysis of covariance adjusting for baseline Dementia Rating Scale, age, gender, magnetic resonance field strength and Dementia Rating Scale interval. Seven subjects underwent 11C Pittsburgh compound B imaging within 12 weeks of magnetic resonance imaging. Global cortical 11C Pittsburgh compound B retention (scaled to cerebellar retention) was calculated in these patients. Using a conservative psychometric method of assessing treatment response, there were 12 patients with reliable decline, 29 stable cases and 13 patients with reliable improvement. The improvers had significantly larger hippocampi than those that declined (P = 0.02) and the stable (P = 0.04) group. An exploratory analysis demonstrated larger grey matter volumes in the temporal and parietal lobes in improvers compared with those who declined (P < 0.05). The two patients who had a positive 11C Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography scan declined and those who had a negative 11C Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography scan improved or were stable after treatment. Patients with dementia with Lewy bodies who do not have the imaging features of coexistent Alzheimer’s disease-related pathology are more likely to cognitively improve with acetylcholinesterase inhibitor treatment.
PMCID: PMC3407425  PMID: 22810436
dementia with Lewy bodies; acetylcholinesterase inhibitors; MRI; PiB; PET; amyloid
4.  Comparing hippocampal atrophy in Alzheimer's dementia and Dementia with Lewy Bodies 
Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) are the two most common neurodegenerative dementias. During the early stages, clinical distinction between them is often challenging. Our objective is to compare hippocampal atrophy patterns in mild AD and mild DLB. We hypothesized that DLB subjects have milder hippocampal atrophy relative to AD subjects.
We analyzed the T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging data from 113 subjects: 55 AD, 16 DLB and 42 cognitively normal elderly (NC). Using the hippocampal radial distance technique and multiple linear regression, we analyzed the effect of clinical diagnosis on hippocampal radial distance, while adjusting for gender and age. 3D statistical maps were adjusted for multiple comparisons using permutation-based statistics with a threshold of p<0.01.
Compared to NC, AD exhibited significantly greater atrophy in the Cornu Ammonis (CA) 1, CA2-3 and subicular regions bilaterally while DLB showed left-predominant atrophy in the CA1 region and subiculum. AD and DLB directly compared did not reveal statistically significant differences.
Hippocampal atrophy, while present in mildly impaired DLB subjects, is less severe than atrophy seen in mildly impaired AD subjects, when compared to NC. Both groups show predominant atrophy of the CA1 subfield and subiculum.
PMCID: PMC3470878  PMID: 22922563
Alzheimer's disease; Dementia with Lewy Bodies; hippocampus; MRI; atrophy
5.  Lewy body cortical involvement may not always predict dementia in Parkinson's disease 
Background: The presence of Lewy bodies (LB) in the neocortex and limbic system in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) is commonly thought to be linked with cognitive impairment. The authors present here a series of patients with diagnosis of PD in life and no significant cognitive impairment who, at necropsy, satisfied the current neuropathological criteria for dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
Methods: Two hundred and seventy six brains with PD pathology were examined at the Queen Square Brain Bank in London between 1993 and 1999. The neuropathological diagnosis was PD, but 117 patients also had sufficient LB involvement above the brain stem to satisfy the current neuropathological criteria for DLB (50 patients had a neuropathological picture consistent with the limbic category of DLB and 67 with neocortical DLB). Forty eight cases were excluded who developed early cognitive impairment together with motor features of parkinsonism, 12 cases for lack of detailed clinical history, and 19 cases with coexistent features of advanced Alzheimer's disease changes. Thirty eight patients (13.8% of the total with PD pathology and 32.5 % of the total with DLB pathology) were found where there was no or very late cognitive impairment reported in the clinical records.
Results: Selected cases were 24 men and 14 women, with a mean (SD) age at onset of parkinsonian symptoms of 60.1 (10.1) years and a mean disease duration of 15.3 (5.5) years. At some time during the evolution of the disease 21 patients developed different degrees of cognitive impairment (after a mean disease duration of 12.2 (4.8) years). Clinical diagnosis at death was PD in 10 cases and PD with dementia in 11. In the remaining 17 patients no history of cognitive impairment was ever recorded in life and all of them had a clinical diagnosis of PD at death; in this subgroup, nine patients later revealed a neuropathological picture consistent with limbic (or transitional) category of DLB and eight with neocortical DLB. Interestingly, in all these patients the parkinsonian features including the response to dopaminergic drugs were indistinguishable from classic brain stem PD.
Conclusions: The authors demonstrate that the classic pathology of DLB can commonly be seen outside the generally accepted clinical spectrum for DLB and that important factors other than the absolute number of LB in the neocortex and limbic system influence the development of cognitive impairment in PD. Furthermore, the pathology of PD may be indistinguishable from that reported in DLB, suggesting that the two clinicopathological syndromes may be attributable to the same biological abnormality.
PMCID: PMC1738521  PMID: 12810766
6.  Amyloid imaging of Lewy body-associated disorders 
Clinicopathologic studies of Parkinson disease dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) commonly reveal abnormal β-amyloid deposition in addition to diffuse Lewy bodies (α-synuclein aggregates), but the relationship among these neuropathologic features and the development of dementia in these disorders remains uncertain.
To determine whether amyloid-βdeposition detected by PET imaging with Pittsburgh Compound B (PIB) distinguishes clinical subtypes of Lewy body-associated disorders.
Nine healthy controls (HC), eight PD with no cognitive impairment (PD-noCI), nine PD with mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI), six dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and fifteen PD with dementia (PDD) patients underwent [11C]-PIB PET imaging, clinical examination, and cognitive testing. The binding potential (BP) of PIB for predefined regions and the mean cortical BP (MCBP) were calculated for each participant. Annual longitudinal follow-up and postmortem examinations were performed on a subset of participants.
Regional PIB BPs and the proportion of individuals with abnormally elevated MCBP were not significantly different across participant groups. Elevated PIB binding was associated with worse global cognitive impairment in participants with Lewy body disorders but was not associated with any other clinical or neuropsychological features, including earlier onset or faster rate of progression of cognitive impairment.
These results suggest that the presence of fibrillar amyloid-βdoes not distinguish between clinical subtypes of Lewy body-associated disorders, although larger numbers are needed to more definitively rule out this association. Amyloid-βmay modify the severity of global cognitive impairment in individuals with Lewy body-associated dementia.
PMCID: PMC2978796  PMID: 20922808
Parkinson’s disease; Parkinson’s disease with dementia; Dementia with Lewy bodies; PET
7.  The Neuropathology of Probable Alzheimer's Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment 
Annals of neurology  2009;66(2):200-208.
Mixed pathologies are common in older persons with dementia. Little is known about mixed pathologies in probable AD and about the spectrum of neuropathology in mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Investigate single and mixed common age-related neuropathologies in persons with probable AD and MCI.
The study included 483 autopsied participants from the Religious Orders Study and the Rush Memory and Aging Project with probable AD (NINCDS-ARDA criteria), MCI (amnestic and non-amnestic) or no cognitive impairment. We excluded 41 persons with clinically possible AD and 14 with other dementias. We documented the neuropathology of AD (NIA-Reagan Criteria), macroscopic cerebral infarcts, and neocortical Lewy body (LB) disease.
Of 179 persons (average age = 86.9) with probable AD, 87.7% had pathologically-confirmed AD and 45.8% had mixed pathologies, most commonly AD with macroscopic infarcts (n= 54), followed by AD with neocortical Lewy body disease (n=19) and both (n=8). Of the 134 persons with MCI, 54.4% had pathologically-diagnosed AD, (58.7% in amnestic; 49.2% in non-amnestic); 19.4% had mixed pathologies (22.7% in amnestic; 15.3% in non-amnestic). Macroscopic infarcts without pathologically-diagnosed AD accounted for 4.5% of probable AD, 13.3% of amnestic and 18.6% of non-amnestic MCI. Pure neocortical LB disease was uncommon in all persons with cognitive impairment (<6%). Microscopic infarcts (without macroscopic infarcts) were common as a mixed pathology, but rarely accounted for a clinical diagnosis of probable AD (n=4) or MCI (n=3).
Clinically-diagnosed probable AD and MCI, even amnestic MCI, are pathologically heterogeneous disorders with many persons exhibiting mixed pathologies.
PMCID: PMC2812870  PMID: 19743450
8.  Prominent Phenotypic Variability Associated with Mutations in Progranulin 
Neurobiology of aging  2007;30(5):739-751.
Mutations in progranulin (PGRN) are associated with frontotemporal dementia with or without parkinsonism. We describe the prominent phenotypic variability within and among eight kindreds evaluated at Mayo Clinic Rochester and/or Mayo Clinic Jacksonville in whom mutations in PGRN were found. All available clinical, genetic, neuroimaging and neuropathologic data was reviewed. Age of onset ranged from 49 to 88 years and disease duration ranged from 1 to 14 years. Clinical diagnoses included frontotemporal dementia (FTD), primary progressive aphasia, FTD with parkinsonism, parkinsonism, corticobasal syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, amnestic mild cognitive impairment, and others. One kindred exhibited maximal right cerebral hemispheric atrophy in all four affected individuals, while another had maximal left hemisphere involvement in all three of the affected. Neuropathologic examination of 13 subjects revealed frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions plus neuronal intranuclear inclusions in all cases. Age of onset, clinical phenotypes and MRI findings associated with most PGRN mutations varied significantly both within and among kindreds. Some kindreds with PGRN mutations exhibited lateralized topography of degeneration across all affected individuals.
PMCID: PMC3164546  PMID: 17949857
Frontotemporal dementia; FTDP-17; Progranulin; PGRN; MRI
9.  Diffuse Lewy body disease: clinical features in 15 cases. 
Fifteen cases of diffuse Lewy body disease were diagnosed on pathological grounds during a single year in one health district. The range and frequency of clinical features contrast strikingly with previous reports. The majority of cases presented with classical levodopa-responsive Parkinson's disease either alone (6 cases) or with mild cognitive impairment (3 cases); the remaining 6 cases presented with cognitive impairment alone. In time almost all patients developed both dementia and Parkinsonism. The dementia was cortical in type, but unusual in that most (12 cases) showed day-to-day fluctuation in severity at some point in their illness. These findings suggest that diffuse Lewy body disease is not rare, and that it presents in a range of ways from dementia with subsequent Parkinsonism to Parkinson's disease with subsequent dementia. The latter mode of presentation suggests that it should be considered as a significant pathological substrate of dementia in Parkinson's disease.
PMCID: PMC1032020  PMID: 2545827
10.  Neurodegenerative basis of age-related cognitive decline (e–Pub ahead of print)(CME) 
Neurology  2010;75(12):1070-1078.
To assess the contribution of dementia-related neuropathologic lesions to age-related and disease-related change in cognitive function.
A total of 354 Catholic nuns, priests, and brothers had annual clinical evaluations for up to 13 years, died, and underwent brain autopsy. The clinical evaluations included detailed testing of cognitive function from which previously established composite measures of global cognition and specific cognitive functions were derived. As part of a uniform neuropathologic evaluation, the density of neurofibrillary tangles was summarized in a composite measure and the presence of Lewy bodies and gross and microscopic cerebral infarction was noted.
During follow-up, rate of global cognitive decline was gradual at first and then more than quadrupled in the last 4 to 5 years of life consistent with the onset of progressive dementia. Neurofibrillary tangles, cerebral infarction, and neocortical Lewy bodies all contributed to gradual age-related cognitive decline and little age-related decline was evident in the absence of these lesions. Neurofibrillary tangles and neocortical Lewy bodies contributed to precipitous disease-related cognitive decline, but substantial disease-related decline was evident even in the absence of these lesions.
Mild age-related decline in cognitive function is mainly due to the neuropathologic lesions traditionally associated with dementia.
= Alzheimer disease.
PMCID: PMC2942064  PMID: 20844243
11.  White Matter Hyperintensities and the Course of Depressive Symptoms in Elderly People with Mild Dementia 
To explore the relationship between white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and the prevalence and course of depressive symptoms in mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Lewy body dementia. Design: This is a prospective cohort study conducted in secondary care outpatient clinics in western Norway. Subjects: The study population consisted of 77 elderly people with mild dementia diagnosed according to standardised criteria.
Structured clinical interviews and physical, neurological, psychiatric, and neuropsychological examinations were performed and routine blood tests were taken. Depression was assessed using the depression subitem of the Neuropsychiatric Inventory and the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). A standardised protocol for magnetic resonance imaging scan was used, and the volumes of WMH were quantified using an automated method, followed by manual editing.
The volumes of total and frontal deep WMH were significantly and positively correlated with baseline severity of depressive symptoms, and depressed patients had significantly higher volumes of total and frontal deep WMH than non-depressed patients. Higher volumes of WMH were also associated with having a high MADRS score and incident and persistent depression at follow-up. After adjustment for potential confounders, frontal deep WMH, in addition to prior depression and non-AD dementia, were still significantly associated with baseline depressive symptoms (p = 0.015, OR 3.703, 95% CI 1.294–10.593). Similar results emerged for total WMH.
In elderly people with mild dementia, volumes of WMH, in particular frontal deep WMH, were positively correlated with baseline severity of depressive symptoms, and seemed to be associated with persistent and incident depression at follow-up. Further studies of the mechanisms that determine the course of depression in mild dementia are needed.
PMCID: PMC3347877  PMID: 22590471
White matter hyperintensities; Depression; Depressive symptoms; Dementia; Elderly people
12.  Effect of cognitive fluctuation on neuropsychological performance in aging and dementia 
Neurology  2010;74(3):210-217.
Cognitive fluctuations are spontaneous alterations in cognition, attention, and arousal. Fluctuations are a core feature of dementia with Lewy bodies, but the impact of fluctuations in healthy brain aging and Alzheimer disease (AD) are unknown.
Research participants (n = 511, age 78.1 ± 8 years, education 14.9 ± 3 years) enrolled in a longitudinal study of memory and aging at the Washington University Alzheimer Disease Research Center were assessed for the presence and severity of dementia with the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) and a neuropsychological test battery. Informant assessments of fluctuations with the Mayo Fluctuations Questionnaire and daytime level of alertness with the Mayo Sleep Questionnaire were completed.
After controlling for age and alertness level, participants with cognitive fluctuations (3 or 4 individual symptoms) were 4.6 times more likely to have dementia (95% confidence interval: 2.05, 10.40). Participants who presented with disorganized, illogical thinking were 7.8 times more likely to be rated CDR >0. The risk of being rated CDR 0.5 among those with fluctuations was 13.4 times higher than among those without fluctuations. The risk of being rated CDR 1 increased 34-fold among participants with fluctuations. Compared with participants without fluctuations, the presence of cognitive fluctuations corresponds to a decrease in performance across individual neuropsychological tests as well as composite scores.
Cognitive fluctuations occur in Alzheimer disease and, when present, significantly affect both clinical rating of dementia severity and neuropsychological performance. Assessment of fluctuations should be considered in the evaluation of patients for cognitive disorders.
= Alzheimer disease;
= Clinical Dementia Rating;
= confidence interval;
= dementia with Lewy bodies;
= mild cognitive impairment;
= odds ratio;
= Selective Reminding Test;
= Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale;
= Wechsler Memory Scale.
PMCID: PMC2809035  PMID: 20083796
13.  Neuropathologic Correlates of Hippocampal Atrophy in the Elderly: A Clinical, Pathologic, Postmortem MRI Study 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26286.
The volume of the hippocampus measured with structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is increasingly used as a biomarker for Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the neuropathologic basis of structural MRI changes in the hippocampus in the elderly has not been directly assessed. Postmortem MRI of the aging human brain, combined with histopathology, could be an important tool to address this issue. Therefore, this study combined postmortem MRI and histopathology in 100 elderly subjects from the Rush Memory and Aging Project and the Religious Orders Study. First, to validate the information contained in postmortem MRI data, we tested the hypothesis that postmortem hippocampal volume is smaller in subjects with clinically diagnosed Alzheimer's disease compared to subjects with mild or no cognitive impairment, as observed in antemortem imaging studies. Subsequently, the relations of postmortem hippocampal volume to AD pathology, Lewy bodies, amyloid angiopathy, gross infarcts, microscopic infarcts, and hippocampal sclerosis were examined. It was demonstrated that hippocampal volume was smaller in persons with a clinical diagnosis of AD compared to those with no cognitive impairment (P = 2.6×10−7) or mild cognitive impairment (P = 9.6×10−7). Additionally, hippocampal volume was related to multiple cognitive abilities assessed proximate to death, with its strongest association with episodic memory. Among all pathologies investigated, the most significant factors related to lower hippocampal volume were shown to be AD pathology (P = 0.0018) and hippocampal sclerosis (P = 4.2×10−7). Shape analysis allowed for visualization of the hippocampal regions most associated with volume loss for each of these two pathologies. Overall, this investigation confirmed the relation of hippocampal volume measured postmortem to clinical diagnosis of AD and measures of cognition, and concluded that both AD pathology and hippocampal sclerosis affect hippocampal volume in old age, though the impacts of each pathology on the shape of the hippocampus may differ.
PMCID: PMC3197137  PMID: 22043314
14.  Brain amyloid and cognition in Lewy body diseases 
Many patients with Parkinson disease (PD) develop dementia (PDD), a syndrome that overlaps clinically and pathologically with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB); PDD and DLB differ chiefly in the relative timing of dementia and parkinsonism. Brain amyloid deposition is an early feature of DLB and may account in part for its early dementia. We sought to confirm this hypothesis and also to determine whether amyloid accumulation contributes to cognitive impairment and dementia in the broad range of parkinsonian diseases.
29 cognitively normal PD, 14 PD subjects with mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI), 18 with DLB, 12 with PDD and 85 healthy control subjects (HCS) underwent standardized neurologic and neuropsychological examinations and PiB imaging with PET. Apolipoprotein (APOE) genotypes were obtained in many patients. PiB retention was expressed as the distribution volume ratio using a cerebellar tissue reference.
PiB retention was significantly higher in DLB than in any of the other diagnostic groups. PiB retention did not differ across PDD, PD-MCI, PD, and HCS. Amyloid burden increased with age and with the presence of the APOEε4 allele in all patient groups. Only in the DLB group was amyloid deposition associated with impaired cognition.
DLB subjects have higher amyloid burden than subjects with PDD, PD-MCI, PD or HCS; amyloid deposits are linked to cognitive impairment only in DLB. Early amyloid deposits in DLB relative to PDD may account for their difference in the timing of dementia and parkinsonism.
PMCID: PMC3725259  PMID: 22693110
dementia; Lewy; Parkinson; amyloid; PiB
15.  Effects of Baseline CSF α-Synuclein on Regional Brain Atrophy Rates in Healthy Elders, Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e85443.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) α-synuclein is reduced in synucleinopathies, including dementia with Lewy bodies, and some studies have found increased CSF α-synuclein in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). No study has explored effects of CSF α-synuclein on brain atrophy. Here we tested if baseline CSF α-synuclein affects brain atrophy rates and if these effects vary across brain regions, and across the cognitive spectrum from healthy elders (NL), to patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD.
Baseline CSF α-synuclein measurements and longitudinal structural brain magnetic resonance imaging was performed in 74 NL, 118 MCI patients and 55 AD patients. Effects of baseline CSF α-synuclein on regional atrophy rates were tested in 1) four pre-hoc defined regions possibly associated with Lewy body and/or AD pathology (amygdala, caudate, hippocampus, brainstem), and 2) all available regions of interest. Differences across diagnoses were tested by assessing the interaction of CSF α-synuclein and diagnosis (testing NL versus MCI, and NL versus AD).
The effects of CSF α-synuclein on longitudinal atrophy rates were not significant after correction for multiple comparisons. There were tendencies for effects in AD in caudate (higher atrophy rates in subjects with higher CSF α-synuclein, P=0.046) and brainstem (higher atrophy rates in subjects with lower CSF α-synuclein, P=0.063). CSF α-synuclein had significantly different effects on atrophy rates in NL and AD in brainstem (P=0.037) and caudate (P=0.006).
Discussion: With the possible exception of caudate and brainstem, the overall weak effects of CSF α-synuclein on atrophy rates in NL, MCI and AD argues against CSF α-synuclein as a biomarker related to longitudinal brain atrophy in these diagnostic groups. Any effects of CSF α-synuclein may be attenuated by possible simultaneous occurrence of AD-related neuronal injury and concomitant Lewy body pathology, which may elevate and reduce CSF α-synuclein levels, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3877372  PMID: 24392009
16.  Prevalence of Sleep Disturbances in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementing Disorders: A Multicenter Italian Clinical Cross-Sectional Study on 431 Patients 
Sleep disturbances are common in the elderly and in persons with cognitive decline. The aim of this study was to describe frequency and characteristics of insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep-disordered breathing, REM behavior disorder and restless legs syndrome in a large cohort of persons with mild cognitive impairment or dementia.
431 consecutive patients were enrolled in 10 Italian neurological centers: 204 had Alzheimer's disease, 138 mild cognitive impairment, 43 vascular dementia, 25 frontotemporal dementia and 21 Lewy body dementia or Parkinson's disease dementia. Sleep disorders were investigated with a battery of standardized questions and questionnaires.
Over 60% of persons had one or more sleep disturbances almost invariably associated one to another without any evident and specific pattern of co-occurrence. Persons with Alzheimer's disease and those with mild cognitive impairment had the same frequency of any sleep disorder. Sleep-disordered breathing was more frequent in vascular dementia. REM behavior disorder was more represented in Lewy body or Parkinson's disease dementia.
A careful clinical evaluation of sleep disorders should be performed routinely in the clinical setting of persons with cognitive decline. Instrumental supports should be used only in selected patients.
PMCID: PMC3696366  PMID: 22415141
Sleep disorders; Excessive daytime sleepiness; Mild cognitive impairment; Alzheimer's disease; Frontotemporal dementia; Lewy body dementia; Parkinson's disease dementia; Vascular dementia
17.  Probable REM Sleep Behavior Disorder Increases Risk for Mild Cognitive Impairment and Parkinson’s Disease: A Population-Based Study 
Annals of Neurology  2012;71(1):49-56.
REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is associated with neurodegenerative disease and particularly with the synucleinopathies. Convenience samples involving subjects with idiopathic RBD have suggested an increased risk of incident mild cognitive impairment (MCI), dementia (usually dementia with Lewy bodies) or Parkinson’s disease (PD). There is no data on such risk in a population-based sample.
Cognitively normal subjects aged 70–89 in a population-based study of aging who screened positive for probable RBD using the Mayo Sleep Questionnaire were followed at 15 month intervals. In a Cox Proportional Hazards Model, we measured the risk of developing MCI, dementia, PD among the exposed (pRBD+) and unexposed (pRBD−) cohorts.
Forty-four subjects with pRBD+ at enrollment (median duration of pRBD features was 7.5 years), and 607 pRBD− subjects, were followed prospectively for a median of 3.8 years. Fourteen of the pRBD+ subjects developed MCI and one developed PD (15/44=34% developed MCI / PD); none developed dementia. After adjustment for age, sex, education, and medical comorbidity, pRBD+ subjects were at increased risk of MCI / PD [Hazard Ratio (HR) 2.2, 95% Confidence Interval (95%CI) 1.3 – 3.9; p=0.005]. Inclusion of subjects who withdrew from the study produced similar results, as did exclusion of subjects with medication-associated RBD. Duration of pRBD symptoms did not predict the development of MCI / PD (HR 1.05 per 10 years, 95%CI 0.84 – 1.3; p=0.68).
In this population-based cohort study, we observed that pRBD confers a 2.2-fold increased risk of developing MCI / PD over four years.
PMCID: PMC3270692  PMID: 22275251
sleep disorders; parasomnias; dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; dementia with Lewy bodies; parkinsonism; synuclein
18.  Factors Associated with a Depressive Disorder in Alzheimer's Disease Are Different from Those Found for Other Dementia Disorders 
This study explores factors associated with depression in Alzheimer's disease (AD) compared with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and other dementia disorders.
In a prospective study we included 195 patients: 31 with MCI, 112 with AD and 52 with other dementias.
According to the ICD-10 and the DSM-IV criteria, 88 (44.1%) and 59 (30.3%), respectively, had a depressive disorder. An adjusted multiple regression analysis showed that previous depression (p < 0.05) was significantly associated with depression in AD patients. Severity of dementia (p < 0.05) was significantly associated with a depressive disorder in a group of patients with frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia, or dementia due to Lewy Body disease or Parkinson's disease.
We found different factors associated with a depressive disorder in AD compared to those found for other dementia disorders.
PMCID: PMC3318937  PMID: 22479262
Depression; Dementia; Alzheimer's disease; Inpatients; Institutions
19.  Motor and cognitive function in Lewy body dementia: comparison with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. 
OBJECTIVE: Motor and cognitive function were compared in patients with Lewy body dementia, Parkinson's disease, or Alzheimer's disease, to identify features that may be clinically useful in differentiating Lewy body dementia from Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. METHODS: A range of neuropsychological function and extrapyrimidal signs (EPS) was assessed in 16 patients with Lewy body dementia, 15 with Parkinson's disease, 25 with Alzheimer's disease, and 22 control subjects. RESULTS: The severity of total motor disability scores increased in the following order: controls approximately = Alzheimer's disease << Parkinson's disease < Lewy body dementia. Compared with patients with Parkinson's disease, patients with Lewy body dementia had greater scores for rigidity and deficits in the finger tapping test, but rest tremor and left/right asymmetry in EPS were more evident in Parkinson's disease. Patients with Lewy body dementia were also less likely to present with left/right asymmetry in EPS at the onset of their parkinsonism. "Sensitivity" to neuroleptic drugs was noted in 33% of patients with Lewy body dementia. Alzheimer's disease and Lewy body dementia groups had greater severity of dementia compared with the Parkinson's disease group and controls. Neuropsychological evaluation disclosed severe but similar degrees of impaired performances in tests of attention (digit span), frontal lobe function (verbal fluency, category, and Nelson card sort test) and motor sequencing in both Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer's disease groups, than Parkinson's disease and controls. In the clock face test, improved performance was noted in the "copy" compared to "draw" part of the test in controls, patients with Alzheimer's disease, and those with Parkinson's disease, but not in the patients with Lewy body dementia, who achieved equally poor scores in both parts of the test. CONCLUSIONS: EPS in Lewy body dementia resemble those seen in idiopathic Parkinson's disease, although less rest tremor and left/right asymmetry but more severe rigidity favours a diagnosis of Lewy body dementia. The unique profile of patients with Lewy body dementia seen in the clock face test suggests that this simple and easy to administer test may be useful in the clinical setting to differentiate Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
PMCID: PMC1064153  PMID: 9069479
20.  Familial Occurrence of Dementia With Lewy Bodies 
Objective. The authors investigated the validity of the designation “familial dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)” by evaluating the clinical, neuropathological, and genetic characteristics of previously reported families exhibiting both familial parkinsonism and dementia.
Methods. Several families, including multiple individuals with parkinsonism as well as prominent dementia, were identified through a literature search. Selected families had at least one member with dementia with autopsy evidence of neocortical and/or limbic Lewy-body (LB) pathology. Clinical and neuropathological evidence from reports of families with prominent dementia as well as parkinsonism was reviewed to further define familial DLB.
Results. All selected families had at least one affected individual with dementia and autopsy-proven DLB. Therefore, these families might be considered examples of familial DLB. Individuals in the first six families typically presented with parkinsonian features, whereas cognitive decline did not appear until years later. In contrast, in the other six families, affected individuals typically presented with cognitive decline, and parkinsonism developed later.
Conclusions. Families exist in which one or more persons meet both clinical and neuropathological criteria for DLB. They differ as to whether the signs of parkinsonism precede or follow signs of dementia. It remains to be determined whether this clinical distinction is biologically important. Susceptibility to developing LB pathology may be determined by the interaction between genetic predisposition and environmental risk factors.
PMCID: PMC1482839  PMID: 15010347
21.  Can the ‘Head-Turning Sign’ Be a Clinical Marker of Alzheimer's Disease? 
To investigate the incidence and severity of the ‘head-turning sign’ (HTS), i.e. turning the head back to the caregiver(s) for help, in patients with various dementias and discuss its clinical specificity in Alzheimer's disease (AD).
We investigated the incidence and severity of HTS while administering a short cognitive test (the revised Hasegawa Dementia Rating Scale: HDSR) in outpatients with AD [125 patients, including 4 with AD + vascular dementia (VaD)], 8 with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), 34 with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), 8 with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and 6 with VaD.
Significant differences were found among the 5 disease groups in the incidence and severity of HTS, and HDSR scores. Given the significant differences between AD and DLB in post hoc analyses, patients were dichotomized into AD-related (AD and aMCI) and AD-nonrelated (PSP, DLB and VaD) groups. Both incidence (41 vs. 17%, p = 0.002) and severity of HTS (0.80 ± 1.13 vs. 0.21 ± 0.60, p = 0.001) were significantly higher in the AD-related group, while average age and HDSR scores were comparable between both groups. AD-related disease, female gender and low HDSR score contributed significantly to the occurrence and severity of HTS.
HTS can be a clinical marker of AD and aMCI, and may represent a type of excuse behavior as well as a sign of dependency on and trust in the caregivers.
PMCID: PMC3246279  PMID: 22203823
Amnestic mild cognitive impairment; Behavioral symptoms; Caregivers; Dementia with Lewy bodies; Excuse behavior; Female preponderance; Head-turning sign; Neuropsychological signs; Progressive supranuclear palsy; Vascular dementia
22.  Multicenter Standardized 18F-FDG PET Diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Other Dementias 
This multicenter study examined 18F-FDG PET measures in the differential diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) from normal aging and from each other and the relation of disease-specific patterns to mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
We examined the 18F-FDG PET scans of 548 subjects, including 110 healthy elderly individuals (“normals” or NLs), 114 MCI, 199 AD,98FTD, and 27 DLB patients, collected at 7 participating centers. Individual PET scans were Z scored using automated voxel-based comparison with generation of disease-specific patterns of cortical and hippocampal 18F-FDG uptake that were then applied to characterize MCI.
Standardized disease-specific PET patterns were developed that correctly classified 95%AD, 92% DLB,94%FTD,and 94%NL. MCI patients showed primarily posterior cingulate cortex and hippocampal hypometabolism (81%), whereas neocortical abnormalities varied according to neuropsychological profiles. An AD PET pattern was observed in 79% MCI with deficits in multiple cognitive domains and 31% amnesic MCI. 18F-FDG PET heterogeneity in MCI with nonmemory deficits ranged from absent hypometabolism to FTD and DLB PET patterns.
Standardized automated analysis of 18F-FDG PET scans may provide an objective and sensitive support to the clinical diagnosis in early dementia.
PMCID: PMC3703818  PMID: 18287270
18F-FDG PET; Alzheimer’s disease; frontotemporal dementia; Lewy body dementia; mild cognitive impairment; normal aging; hippocampus
23.  Medial Temporal Atrophy and Memory Dysfunction in Poststroke Cognitive Impairment-No Dementia 
Background and Purpose
It was recently reported that the prevalence of poststroke memory dysfunction might be higher than previously thought. Stroke may exist concomitantly with underlying Alzheimer's disease (AD), and so we determined whether post-stroke memory dysfunction indicates manifestation of underlying subclinical AD.
Of 1201 patients in a prospective cognitive assessment database, we enrolled subjects with poststroke amnestic vascular cognitive impairment-no dementia (aVCIND; n=48), poststroke nonamnestic vascular cognitive impairment-no dementia (naVCIND; n=50), and nonstroke amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI; n=65). All subjects had cognitive deficits, but did not meet the criteria for dementia. A standardized neuropsychological test battery and magnetic resonance imaging were performed at least 90 days after the index stroke (mean, 473 days). Visual assessment of medial temporal atrophy (MTA) was used as a measure of underlying AD pathology.
The MTA score was significantly lower in the naVCIND group (0.64±0.85, mean±SD) than in the aVCIND (1.10±1.08) and aMCI (1.45±1.13; p<0.01) groups. Multivariable ordinal logistic regression analysis revealed that compared with naVCIND, aVCIND [odds ratio (OR)=2.69; 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.21-5.99] and aMCI (OR=5.20; 95% CI=2.41-11.23) were significantly associated with increasing severity of MTA.
Our findings show that compared with poststroke naVCIND, the odds of having more-severe MTA were increased for poststroke aVCIND and nonstroke aMCI.
PMCID: PMC3325431  PMID: 22523512
vascular cognitive impairment; memory dysfunction; stroke; poststroke dementia
24.  The clinical use of structural MRI in Alzheimer disease 
Nature reviews. Neurology  2010;6(2):67-77.
Structural imaging based on magnetic resonance is an integral part of the clinical assessment of patients with suspected Alzheimer dementia. Prospective data on the natural history of change in structural markers from preclinical to overt stages of Alzheimer disease are radically changing how the disease is conceptualized, and will influence its future diagnosis and treatment. Atrophy of medial temporal structures is now considered to be a valid diagnostic marker at the mild cognitive impairment stage. Structural imaging is also included in diagnostic criteria for the most prevalent non-Alzheimer dementias, reflecting its value in differential diagnosis. In addition, rates of whole-brain and hippocampal atrophy are sensitive markers of neurodegeneration, and are increasingly used as outcome measures in trials of potentially disease-modifying therapies. Large multicenter studies are currently investigating the value of other imaging and nonimaging markers as adjuncts to clinical assessment in diagnosis and monitoring of progression. The utility of structural imaging and other markers will be increased by standardization of acquisition and analysis methods, and by development of robust algorithms for automated assessment.
PMCID: PMC2938772  PMID: 20139996
25.  Polysomnographic Findings in Dementia With Lewy Bodies 
The neurologist  2013;19(1):1-6.
The clinical features of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) during wakefulness are well known. Other than REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), only limited data exists on other sleep disturbances and disorders in DLB. We sought to characterize the polysomnographic (PSG) findings in a series of DLB patients with sleep-related complaints.
Retrospective study of patients with DLB who underwent clinical PSG at Mayo Clinic Rochester or Mayo Clinic Jacksonville over an almost 11 year span for evaluation of dream enactment behavior, excessive nocturnal movements, sleep apnea, hypersomnolence, or insomnia. The following variables were analyzed: respiratory disturbance index (RDI) in disordered breathing events/hour, periodic limb movement arousal index (PLMAI), arousals for no apparent reason (AFNAR), total arousal index (TAI), presence of REM sleep without atonia (RSWA), and percent sleep efficiency (SE).
Data on 78 patients (71M, 7F) were analyzed. The mean age was 71 ± 8 years. Seventy-five (96%) patients had histories of recurrent dream enactment during sleep with 83% showing confirmation of RSWA +/- dream enactment during PSG. Mean RDI = 11.9 ± 5.8, PLMAI = 5.9 ± 8.5, AFNARI = 10.7 ± 12.0, and TAI = 26.6 ± 17.4. SE was <80% in 72% of the sample, <70% in 49%, and <60% in 24%. In patients who did not show evidence of significant disordered breathing (23 with RDI<5), 62% of arousals were AFNARs. In those patients who had significant disordered breathing (55 with RDI ≥ 5), 36% of arousals were AFNARs. Six patients underwent evaluations with PSG plus MSLT. Two patients had mean initial sleep latencies less than five minutes, and both had RDI<5. No patient had any sleep onset rapid eye movement periods. Nineteen patients have undergone neuropathologic examination, and 18 have had limbic- or neocortical-predominant Lewy body pathology. One had progressive supranuclear palsy, but no REM sleep was recorded in prior PSG.
In patients with DLB and sleep-related complaints, several sleep disturbances in addition to RBD are frequently present. In this sample, about three quarters had a significant number of arousals not accounted for by a movement or breathing disturbance, and the primary sleep disorders do not appear to entirely account for the poor sleep efficiency in DLB, especially in those without a significant breathing disorder. Further studies are warranted to better understand the relationship between disturbed sleep, arousal and DLB; such characterization may provide insights into potential avenues of treatment of symptoms which could impact quality of life.
PMCID: PMC3587292  PMID: 23269098
Sleep disorders; REM sleep behavior disorder; dementia with Lewy bodies; synucleinopathy

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