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Volumetric MRI study of the caudate nucleus in patients with dementia with Lewy bodies, Alzheimer's disease, and vascular dementia
  1. R Barber,
  2. I McKeith,
  3. C Ballard,
  4. J O'Brien
  1. Institute for the Health of the Elderly, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 6BE, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr R Barber, Akenside Unit, Centre for the Health of the Elderly, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 6BE, UK;


Objectives: To determine whether parkinsonian symptoms in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) are associated with greater atrophy of the caudate nucleus in comparison with patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD).

Methods: T1weighted MR scans were acquired in elderly patients with DLB, AD, VaD, and healthy controls. Normalised volumetric measurements of the caudate nucleus were obtained and parkinsonian symptoms rated using Hoehn and Yahr staging.

Results: There were no significant differences in the volume of the caudate nucleus between patients with dementia. However, the left caudate volume was significantly reduced in AD and DLB compared with controls. Parkinsonian symptoms did not correlate with caudate nucleus volume.

Conclusions: Parkinsonian symptoms in DLB may be more closely coupled to neurochemical rather than structural changes in the caudate nucleus, and volumetric MRI analysis of caudate nucleus does not discriminate between patients with DLB, AD, and VaD.

  • dementia
  • caudate nucleus
  • parkinsonism
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • DLB, dementia with Lewy bodies
  • AD, Alzheimer's disease
  • VaD, vascular dementia

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