Skip Navigation LinksHome > December 2010 - Volume 69 - Issue 12 > Small Vascular and Alzheimer Disease-Related Pathologic Dete...
Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology:
doi: 10.1097/NEN.0b013e3181ffc3b9
Original Articles

Small Vascular and Alzheimer Disease-Related Pathologic Determinants of Dementia in the Oldest-Old

Sinka, Lidia MD, PhD; Kövari, Enikö MD; Gold, Gabriel MD; Hof, Patrick R. MD; Herrmann, François R. MD, MPH; Bouras, Constantin MD; Giannakopoulos, Panteleimon MD

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Abstract

The relative contributions of Alzheimer disease (AD) and vascular lesion burden to the occurrence of cognitive decline are more difficult to define in the oldest-old than they are in younger cohorts. To address this issue, we examined 93 prospectively documented autopsy cases from 90 to 103 years with various degrees of AD lesions, lacunes, and microvascular pathology. Cognitive assessment was performed prospectively using the Clinical Dementia Rating scale. Neuropathologic evaluation included the Braak neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) and β-amyloid (Aβ) protein deposition staging and bilateral semiquantitative assessment of vascular lesions. Statistics included regression models and receiver operating characteristic analyses. Braak NFTs, Aβ deposition, and cortical microinfarcts (CMIs) predicted 30% of Clinical Dementia Rating variability and 49% of the presence of dementia. Braak NFT and CMI thresholds yielded 0.82 sensitivity, 0.91 specificity, and 0.84 correct classification rates for dementia. Using these threshold values, we could distinguish 3 groups of demented cases and propose criteria for neuropathologic definition of mixed dementia, pure vascular dementia, and AD in very old age. Braak NFT staging and severity of CMI allow for defining most of demented cases in the oldest-old. Most importantly, single cutoff scores for these variables that could be used in the future to formulate neuropathologic criteria for mixed dementia in this age group were identified.

© 2010 American Association of Neuropathologists, Inc

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