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Thickness in Entorhinal and Subicular Cortex Predicts Episodic Memory Decline in Mild Cognitive Impairment


Identifying subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) most likely to decline in cognition over time is a major focus in Alzheimer's disease (AD) research. Neuroimaging biomarkers that predict decline would have great potential for increasing the efficacy of early intervention. In this study, we used high-resolution MRI, combined with a cortical unfolding technique to increase visibility of the convoluted medial temporal lobe (MTL), to assess whether gray matter thickness in subjects with MCI correlated to decline in cognition over two years. We found that thickness in the entorhinal (ERC) and subicular (Sub) cortices of MCI subjects at initial assessment correlated to change in memory encoding over two years (ERC: r = 0.34; P = .003) and Sub (r = 0.26; P = .011) but not delayed recall performance. Our findings suggest that aspects of memory performance may be differentially affected in the early stages of AD. Given the MTL's involvement in early stages of neurodegeneration in AD, clarifying the relationship of these brain regions and the link to resultant cognitive decline is critical in understanding disease progression.

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