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OBJECTIVES: To validate a visual rating scale of frontal atrophy with quantitative imaging and study its association with clinical status, APOE ε4, CSF biomarkers, and cognition. METHODS: The AddNeuroMed and ADNI cohorts were combined giving a total of 329 healthy controls, 421 mild cognitive impairment patients, and 286 Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. Thirty-four patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) were also included. Frontal atrophy was assessed with the frontal sub-scale of the global cortical atrophy scale (GCA-F) on T1-weighted images. Automated imaging markers of cortical volume, thickness, and surface area were evaluated. Manual tracing was also performed. RESULTS: The GCA-F scale reliably reflects frontal atrophy, with orbitofrontal, dorsolateral, and motor cortices being the regions contributing most to the GCA-F ratings. GCA-F primarily reflects reductions in cortical volume and thickness, although it was able to detect reductions in surface area too. The scale showed significant associations with clinical status and cognition. CONCLUSION: The GCA-F scale may have implications for clinical practice as supportive diagnostic tool for disorders demonstrating predominant frontal atrophy such as FTD and the executive presentation of AD. We believe that GCA-F is feasible for use in clinical routine for the radiological assessment of dementia and other disorders. KEY POINTS: • The GCA-F visual rating scale reliably reflects frontal brain atrophy. • Orbitofrontal, dorsolateral, and motor cortices are the most contributing regions. • GCA-F shows significant associations with clinical status and cognition. • GCA-F may be supportive diagnostic tool for disorders demonstrating predominant frontal atrophy. • GCA-F may be feasible for use in radiological routine.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur Radiol

Publication Date





2597 - 2610


Alzheimer’s disease, Frontal atrophy, Frontotemporal dementia, Mild cognitive impairment, Neuroimaging, Aged, Alzheimer Disease, Apolipoprotein E4, Biomarkers, Cognition, Female, Frontal Lobe, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged