Multiparametric computer-aided differential diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia using structural and advanced MRI

Esther E. Bron*, Marion Smits, Janne M. Papma, Rebecca M E Steketee, Rozanna Meijboom, Marius De Groot, John C. van Swieten, Wiro J. Niessen, Stefan Klein

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    53 Citations (Scopus)
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    Objectives: To investigate the added diagnostic value of arterial spin labelling (ASL) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to structural MRI for computer-aided classification of Alzheimer's disease (AD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and controls. Methods: This retrospective study used MRI data from 24 early-onset AD and 33 early-onset FTD patients and 34 controls (CN). Classification was based on voxel-wise feature maps derived from structural MRI, ASL, and DTI. Support vector machines (SVMs) were trained to classify AD versus CN (AD-CN), FTD-CN, AD-FTD, and AD-FTD-CN (multi-class). Classification performance was assessed by the area under the receiver-operating-characteristic curve (AUC) and accuracy. Using SVM significance maps, we analysed contributions of brain regions. Results: Combining ASL and DTI with structural MRI resulted in higher classification performance for differential diagnosis of AD and FTD (AUC = 84%; p = 0.05) than using structural MRI by itself (AUC = 72%). The performance of ASL and DTI themselves did not improve over structural MRI. The classifications were driven by different brain regions for ASL and DTI than for structural MRI, suggesting complementary information. Conclusions: ASL and DTI are promising additions to structural MRI for classification of early-onset AD, early-onset FTD, and controls, and may improve the computer-aided differential diagnosis on a single-subject level. Key points: • Multiparametric MRI is promising for computer-aided diagnosis of early-onset AD and FTD.• Diagnosis is driven by different brain regions when using different MRI methods.• Combining structural MRI, ASL, and DTI may improve differential diagnosis of dementia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-11
    Number of pages11
    JournalEuropean Radiology
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


    • Classification
    • Dementia
    • Differential diagnosis
    • Diffusion tensor imaging
    • Perfusion


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