Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria
Print version ISSN 1516-4446
BALDACARA, Leonardo et al. Cerebellar volume in patients with dementia. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. [online]. 2011, vol.33, n.2, pp.122-129. Epub Apr 08, 2011. ISSN 1516-4446. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-44462011000200006.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine the cerebellar volume of subjects at different stages of Alzheimer's disease and to investigate whether volume reductions in this structure are related to cognitive decline. METHOD: Ninety-six subjects from an epidemiological study were submitted to a magnetic resonance imaging scan and evaluated using the Mini-Mental State Examination and the Functional Activities Questionnaire. Subjects were divided into five groups according to the Clinical Dementia Rating scale. Twenty-six subjects from the original group who had no dementia diagnosis at baseline were re-evaluated for the onset of dementia after two years. RESULTS: The volumes of the cerebellar hemispheres, posterior cerebellar lobe, vermis and temporal lobe were found to be reduced as a function of the severity of the disease. There were significant positive correlations between the volume of the temporal lobe and cerebellum and the language, attention, and total scores in the Mini-Mental State Examination and the Functional Activities Questionnaire. A logistic regression analysis demonstrated that reduced temporal lobe, posterior cerebellar lobe and vermal volume at baseline is a risk factor for the onset of dementia. CONCLUSION: This is the first study demonstrating that reduced cerebellar volume is already apparent at the predementia stage. The results of this study support the involvement of the cerebellum in the progression of dementia. Whereas the cerebellum might not be directly associated with the origin of Alzheimer's disease, it may provide useful information related to its prognosis.
Keywords : Cerebellum; Epidemiological studies; Dementia; Alzheimer disease; Disease progression.