Clinical and MRI Predictors of Conversion From Mild Behavioural Impairment to Dementia

B. Orso, C. Mattei, D. Arnaldi, F. Massa, G. Serafini, D. Plantone, E. Doglione, J. Grafman, F. Nobili, M. Pardini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: As an analogy with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), the mild behavioral impairment (MBI) construct has been proposed as a diagnostic label for those presenting late-onset behavioral symptoms. To date, however, the clinical, cognitive, and structural imaging features associated with an increased risk of conversion from MBI to dementia are poorly understood. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the cognitive performance and structural brain MRI of 113 subjects, with a clinical follow-up of at least 4 years available. Subjects were randomly assigned to a Group A (56 subjects; age: 65.4 ± 7.9 years, 15 females, MMSE score: 28.4 ± 2.3)) or to a Group B (57 subjects, age: 66.6 ± 6.4, 17 females, MMSE score: 28.0 ± 1.4). In the Group A, cognitive and structural variables were compared between converters (at 4 years) and nonconverters and then verified in the Group B group. Results: In the Group A, 14 patients converted to behavioral-variant of frontotemporal dementia (bv-FTD) and 4 to Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Converters presented at baseline lower executive function scores and total Theory of Mind (ToM scores), as well as more severe focal frontal atrophy. In the Group B, 13 subjects converted to bv-FTD and none to AD. The combination of the variables identified in the Group A significantly (p <0.001) discriminated between converters and nonconverters in the Group B with a sensitivity of 0.615 and a specificity of 1 (total accuracy 91.22%). Conclusion: The combined presence of executive deficit, impaired ToM, and presence of isolated frontal atrophy was associated with risk of progression from MBI to a clinically evident neurodegenerative condition, mainly bv-FTD, over a 4-year period.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • cognition
  • dementia
  • Mild behavioral impairment
  • social difficulties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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