The role of multimodal MRI in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease

Laust Vind Knudsen*, Parisa Gazerani, Yunyun Duan, Tanja Maria Michel, Manouchehr Seyedi Vafaee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Background and Purpose: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a prodromal stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD), where neurodegeneration is not as considerable, thereby potentially increasing the effect of treatments. Therefore, highly sensitive and specific classification of subjects with MCI is necessary, where various MRI modalities have displayed promise. Methods: Structural, diffusion, and resting-state (RS) functional MRI analyses were performed on the AD (n = 26), MCI (n = 5), and healthy control (HC) (n = 14) group. Structural analysis was performed via voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and volumetric subcortical segmentation analysis. Fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity were estimated during the diffusion analysis. RS analysis investigated seed-based functional connectivity. Classification via support vector machine was performed to evaluate which MRI modality most accurately differentiated the groups. Multiple linear regression was conducted to evaluate the MRI modalities correlation with clinical assessment scores. Results: Classification of MCI and HC displayed highest accuracy based on diffusion MRI, which besides demonstrated high correlation with clinical scores. Classification was equally accurate in AD, when using VBM or diffusion tensor imaging measures. Yet, more variance was explained by VBM measures in the clinical assessment scores of the AD group. Conclusions: This study highlights the potential of diffusion MRI in differentiating MCI from HC and AD. However, the results need to be interpreted with caution as sample size and artifacts in the MRI data probably influenced the results.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neuroimaging
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)148-157
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • clinical assessment
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • support vector machine


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