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Study of brain morphology change in Alzheimer’s disease and amnestic mild cognitive impairment compared with normal controls
  1. Huanqing Yang1,2,
  2. Hua Xu1,2,
  3. Qingfeng Li3,
  4. Yan Jin4,
  5. Weixiong Jiang5,
  6. Jinghua Wang1,2,
  7. Yina Wu1,2,
  8. Wei Li1,2,
  9. Cece Yang1,2,
  10. Xia Li1,2,
  11. Shifu Xiao1,2,
  12. Feng Shi3 and
  13. Tao Wang1,2
  1. 1 Department of Geriatric Psychiatry, Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai, China
  2. 2 Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China
  3. 3 Shanghai United Imaging Intelligence Co., Ltd, Shanghai, China
  4. 4 IDEA Lab, Department of Radiology and BRIC, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, United States
  5. 5 Informational Science and Engineering Department, Hunan First Normal University, Changsha, China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tao Wang; wtshhwy{at}; Dr Feng Shi; feng.shi{at}


Background With an aggravated social ageing level, the number of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is gradually increasing, and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is considered to be an early form of Alzheimer’s disease. How to distinguish diseases in the early stage for the purposes of early diagnosis and treatment is an important topic.

Aims The purpose of our study was to investigate the differences in brain cortical thickness and surface area among elderly patients with AD, elderly patients with amnestic MCI (aMCI) and normal controls (NC).

Methods 20 AD patients, 21 aMCIs and 25 NC were recruited in the study. FreeSurfer software was used to calculate cortical thickness and surface area among groups.

Results The patients with AD had less cortical thickness both in the left and right hemisphere in 17 of the 36 brain regions examined than the patients with aMCI or NC. The patients with AD also had smaller cerebral surface area both in the left and right hemisphere in 3 of the 36 brain regions examined than the patients with aMCI or NC. Compared with the NC, the patients with aMCI only had slight atrophy in the inferior parietal lobe of the left hemisphere, and no significant difference was found.

Conclusion AD, as well as aMCI (to a lesser extent), is associated with reduced cortical thickness and surface area in a few brain regions associated with cognitive impairment. These results suggest that cortical thickness and surface area could be used for early detection of AD.

  • alzheimer’s disease
  • amnestic mild cognitive impairment
  • cortical thickness
  • surface area

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  • HY, HX and QL are joint first authors.

  • HY, HX and QL contributed equally.

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published Online First. This article was originally published without the correct Open Access licence.

  • Contributors HY and HX drafted the paper. HY and QL made the statistical analysis. YJ, WJ, JW, YW, WL and CY carried out the data collection. XL double-checked the data. SX designed and was responsible for the study. TW carried out the research, while TW and FS supervised the data collection, statistical analysis and modified the paper. HY, HX and QL contributed equally to this work as co-first authors.

  • Funding TW was supported by the Collaborative Innovation Center for Translational Medicine at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine TM201728, National Nature Science Foundation of China 81571298, Shanghai health system excellent talent training program (excellent subject leader) project 2017BR054, Shanghai Municipal Education Commission-Gaofeng Clinical Medicine Grant Support 20172029, Shanghai Pujiang Program 17PJD038.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the Ethical Committee of Shanghai Mental Health Center.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

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