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Structural and diffusion MRI measures of the hippocampus and memory performance
Hippocampal atrophy on MRI and changes in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures of the hippocampus have been reported in patients with Alzheimer's disease. We examined the association between hippocampal volumes, DTI measures of the hippocampus and memory performance in 892 non-demented persons (age. ≥. 55. years) across different age groups. Hippocampal volume was segmented on 3D volumetric MRI scans. The segmentations were co-registered to mean diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA) maps to yield mean hippocampal MD and FA measurements. Higher MD of the hippocampus was associated with impaired verbal memory performance. In all persons ≥. 55. years, a higher MD of the hippocampus was associated with a worse memory performance. Hippocampal volumes were very weakly positively associated with delayed recall and only in persons >. 65. years. FA of the hippocampus was not associated with memory performance. Follow-up studies will be needed to determine whether higher MD of hippocampus at younger ages could be an earlier marker of incident Alzheimer's disease than hippocampal volume.