Automatic temporal lobe atrophy assessment in prodromal AD: Data from the DESCRIPA study

Andrea Chincarini, Paolo Bosco, Gianluca Gemme, Mario Esposito, Luca Rei, Sandro Squarcia, Roberto Bellotti, Lennart Minthon, Giovanni Frisoni, Philip Scheltens, Lutz Frölich, Hilkka Soininen, Pieter Jelle Visser, Flavio Nobili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background In the framework of the clinical validation of research tools, this investigation presents a validation study of an automatic medial temporal lobe atrophy measure that is applied to a naturalistic population sampled from memory clinic patients across Europe. Methods The procedure was developed on 1.5-T magnetic resonance images from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative database, and it was validated on an independent data set coming from the DESCRIPA study. All images underwent an automatic processing procedure to assess tissue atrophy that was targeted at the hippocampal region. For each subject, the procedure returns a classification index. Once provided with the clinical assessment at baseline and follow-up, subjects were grouped into cohorts to assess classification performance. Each cohort was divided into converters (co) and nonconverters (nc) depending on the clinical outcome at follow-up visit. Results We found the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was 0.81 for all co versus nc subjects, and AUC was 0.90 for subjective memory complaint (SMCnc) versus all co subjects. Furthermore, when training on mild cognitive impairment (MCI-nc/MCI-co), the classification performance generally exceeds that found when training on controls versus Alzheimer's disease (CTRL/AD). Conclusions Automatic magnetic resonance imaging analysis may assist clinical classification of subjects in a memory clinic setting even when images are not specifically acquired for automatic analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-467
Number of pages12
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Hippocampus
  • Image analysis
  • Medial temporal lobe
  • Memory clinics
  • MRI
  • Naturalistic population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy


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