Introduction: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is common in Parkinson’s disease (PD), but the underlying pathological mechanism has not been fully understood. Voxel-based morphometry could be used to evaluate regional atrophy and its relationship with cognitive performances in early PD-MCI. Patients and Methods: One hundred and six patients with PD were recruited from a larger cohort of patients, the Parkinson’s Disease Cognitive Impairment Study (PaCoS). Subject underwent a T1-3D MRI and a complete clinical and neuropsychological evaluation. Patients were divided into PD with normal cognition (PD-NC) and PD-MCI according to the MDS level II criteria–modified for PD-MCI. A subgroup of early patients with short disease duration (≤ 2 years) was also identified. VBM analysis between PD-NC and PD-MCI and between early PD-NC and PD-MCI was performed using two-sample t tests with whole-brain statistical threshold of p < 0.001 uncorrected in the entire PD group and p < 0.05 FWE inside ROIs, in the early PD. Results: Forty patients were diagnosed with MCI and 66 were PD-NC. PD-MCI patients showed significant gray matter (GM) reduction in several brain regions, including frontal gyrus, precuneus, angular gyrus, temporal lobe, and cerebellum. Early PD-MCI showed reduction in GM density in superior frontal gyrus and cerebellum. Moreover, correlation analysis between neuropsychological performances and GM volume of early PD-MCI patients showed associations between performances of Raven and superior frontal gyrus volume, Stroop time and inferior frontal gyrus volume, accuracy of Barrage and volume of precuneus. Conclusion: The detection of frontal and cerebellar atrophy, even at an early stage, could be used as an early marker of PD-related cognitive impairment.
- Clinical Neurology
- Psychiatry and Mental health