[en] Different scales can be used to evaluate dementia severity in Alzheimers disease (AD). They do assess different cognitive or functional abilities, but their global scores are frequently in mutual correlation. Functional imaging provides an objective method for the staging of dementia severity. Positron emission tomography was used to assess the relationship between brain metabolism and four dementia scales that reflect a patients global cognitive abilities (mini mental state), caregivers evaluation of cognitive impairment (newly designed scale), daily living functioning (instrumental activities of daily living) and global dementia (clinical dementia rating). We wondered whether different clinical dementia scales would be related to severity of metabolic impairment in the same brain regions, and might reflect impairment of common cognitive processes. 225 patients with probable AD were recruited in a prospective multicentre European study. All clinical scales were related to brain metabolism in associative temporal, parietal or frontal areas. A factorial analysis demonstrated that all scales could be classified in a single factor. That factor was highly correlated to decrease of cerebral activity in bilateral parietal and temporal cortices, precuneus, and left middle frontal gyrus. This finding suggests that global scores for all scales provided similar information on the neural substrate of dementia severity. Capitalizing on the neuroimaging literature, dementia severity reflected by reduced metabolism in posterior and frontal associative areas in AD might be related to a decrease of controlled processes.
Centre de Recherches du Cyclotron - CRC
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; DIMI