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Gray Matter Changes Associated With the Development of Delusions in Alzheimer Disease.

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Published:30th Apr 2019
Author: Qian W, Schweizer TA, Churchill NW, Millikin C, Ismail Z, Smith EE et al.
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Ref.:Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2019 May;27(5):490-498.

Objective: Delusions affect approximately a third of Alzheimer disease (AD) patients and are associated with poor outcomes. Previous studies investigating the neuroanatomic correlates of delusions have yet to reach a consensus, with findings of reduced volume across all lobes, particularly in frontal regions. The current study examined the gray matter (GM) differences associated with delusions in AD.

Methods: Using voxel-based morphometry, we assessed GM in 23 AD patients who developed delusions (AD+D) and 36 comparable AD patients who did not (AD-D) at baseline and follow-up. Analysis of variance was used to identify consistent differences between AD+D and AD-D patients across time points (main effect of group), consistent changes from baseline to follow-up (main effect of time), and differential changes between AD+D and AD-D over time (interaction of group and time). All data were obtained from the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center database.

Results: The AD+D group had consistently lower frontal GM volume, although both groups showed decreased GM in frontotemporal brain regions over time. An interaction was observed between delusions and longitudinal change, with AD+D patients having significantly elevated GM in predominantly temporal areas at baseline assessment, becoming significantly lower than the AD-D group at follow-up.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that, there are specific volumetric markers that distinguish patients with delusions from those without, before, and after the onset of delusions. Specifically, the decline of GM in temporal areas that had elevated levels prior to the onset of delusions may be involved in the manifestation of delusions.


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