Chapter

Alzheimer’s Disease

Maija Pihlajamäki and Hilkka Soininen

in The Clinical Neurobiology of the Hippocampus

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199592388
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949922 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199592388.003.0012
Alzheimer’s Disease

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The clinical spectrum of hippocampal dysfunction encompasses a wide range of neuropsychiatric symptoms. The present chapter aims at addressing the hippocampal involvement in the most common form of memory disorders, that is Alzheimer’s disease (AD), focusing on neurobiological changes revealed by structural and functional imaging. AD results in progressive brain atrophy and inevitable neurological deterioration. Routine clinical evaluation of cognitively impaired elderly subjects includes structural computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and, for example, the presence of atrophy in the hippocampus and other medial temporal lobe memory structures strongly supports the diagnosis of AD. Clinical functional MRI has proved to be an interesting tool in investigating the neural correlates of cognitive impairment characteristic of AD in vivo and has provided novel insights into the pathognomonic alterations in the hippocampal formation and related whole-brain memory networks. In addition to clinical AD, this chapter reviews recent advances in our understanding of the neuroimaging correlates of subjects at increased risk to develop AD, such as subjects with amnestic mild cognitive impairment and cognitively intact elderly subjects carrying the apolipoprotein E ε4 allele, focusing again on the most intensively studied structure, the hippocampus. Large-scale, worldwide, multimodal imaging studies on predictors of AD are ongoing and there is great hope that imaging of the hippocampus and related memory structures would facilitate early diagnosis of AD and other dementias as well as improve treatment options of these devastating diseases in the near future.

Keywords: ageing; Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid; atrophy; dementia; functional magnetic resonance imaging; hippocampus; magnetic resonance imaging; medial temporal lobe; memory; mild cognitive impairment; neurofibrillary tangles; volumetry; voxel-based morphometry

Chapter.  17310 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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