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International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 546871, 11 pages
Research Article

Joint Assessment of Structural, Perfusion, and Diffusion MRI in Alzheimer's Disease and Frontotemporal Dementia

1Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Department of Veterans Affairs San Francisco VA, Medical Center, 4150, Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA
2Department of Radiology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA
3Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA

Received 29 November 2010; Accepted 26 April 2011

Academic Editor: Katsuya Urakami

Copyright © 2011 Yu Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Most MRI studies of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) have assessed structural, perfusion and diffusion abnormalities separately while ignoring the relationships across imaging modalities. This paper aimed to assess brain gray (GM) and white matter (WM) abnormalities jointly to elucidate differences in abnormal MRI patterns between the diseases. Twenty AD, 20 FTD patients, and 21 healthy control subjects were imaged using a 4 Tesla MRI. GM loss and GM hypoperfusion were measured using high-resolution T1 and arterial spin labeling MRI (ASL-MRI). WM degradation was measured with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Using a new analytical approach, the study found greater WM degenerations in FTD than AD at mild abnormality levels. Furthermore, the GM loss and WM degeneration exceeded the reduced perfusion in FTD whereas, in AD, structural and functional damages were similar. Joint assessments of multimodal MRI have potential value to provide new imaging markers for improved differential diagnoses between FTD and AD.