Front Neurol 2014 21;5:76. Epub 2014 May 21.
School of Engineering Science, Simon Fraser University , Burnaby, BC , Canada.
Background: Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) is considered to be the transitional stage between healthy aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Moreover, aMCI individuals with additional impairment in one or more non-memory cognitive domains are at higher risk of conversion to AD. Hence accurate identification of the sub-types of aMCI would enable earlier detection of individuals progressing to AD.
Methods: We examine the group differences in cortical thickness between single-domain and multiple-domain sub-types of aMCI, and as well as with respect to age-matched controls in a well-balanced cohort from the Sydney Memory and Aging Study. In addition, the diagnostic value of cortical thickness in the sub-classification of aMCI as well as from normal controls using support vector machine (SVM) classifier is evaluated, using a novel cross-validation technique that can handle class-imbalance.
Results: This study revealed an increased, as well as a wider spread, of cortical thinning in multiple-domain aMCI compared to single-domain aMCI. The best performances of the classifier for the pairs (1) single-domain aMCI and normal controls, (2) multiple-domain aMCI and normal controls, and (3) single and multiple-domain aMCI were AUC = 0.52, 0.66, and 0.54, respectively. The accuracy of the classifier for the three pairs was just over 50% exhibiting low specificity (44-60%) and similar sensitivity (53-68%).
Conclusion: Analysis of group differences added evidence to the hypothesis that multiple-domain aMCI is a later stage of AD compared to single-domain aMCI. The classification results show that discrimination among single, multiple-domain sub-types of aMCI and normal controls is limited using baseline cortical thickness measures.