Age is not only the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD) but also a key modifier of disease presentation and progression. Here, we investigate how longitudinal atrophy patterns vary with age in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD. Data comprised serial longitudinal 1.5-T magnetic resonance imaging scans from 153 AD, 339 MCI, and 191 control subjects. Voxel-wise maps of longitudinal volume change were obtained and aligned across subjects. Local volume change was then modeled in terms of diagnostic group and an interaction between group and age, adjusted for total intracranial volume, white-matter hyperintensity volume, and apolipoprotein E genotype. Results were significant at p < 0.05 with family-wise error correction for multiple comparisons. An age-by-group interaction revealed that younger AD patients had significantly faster atrophy rates in the bilateral precuneus, parietal, and superior temporal lobes. These results suggest younger AD patients have predominantly posterior progressive atrophy, unexplained by white-matter hyperintensity, apolipoprotein E, or total intracranial volume. Clinical trials may benefit from adapting outcome measures for patient groups with lower average ages, to capture progressive atrophy in posterior cortices.
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Aging, Alzheimer's disease, Atrophy, Early-onset Alzheimer's disease, Hippocampus, Late-onset, Mild cognitive impairment (MCI)