Comparison of manual and automated determination of hippocampal volumes in MCI and early AD.Brain Imaging Behav 2010; 4(1):86-95BI
MRI-based hippocampal volume analysis has been extensively employed given its potential as a biomarker for brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), and accurate and efficient determination of hippocampal volumes from brain images is still a challenging issue. We compared an automated method, FreeSurfer (V4), with a published manual protocol for the determination of hippocampal volumes from T1-weighted MRI scans. Our study included MRI data from 125 older adult subjects: healthy controls with no significant cognitive complaints or deficits (HC, n=38), euthymic individuals with cognitive complaints (CC, n=39) but intact neuropsychological performance, and patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI, n=37) or a clinical diagnosis of probable AD (AD, n=11). Pearson correlations and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were calculated to evaluate the relationship between results of the manual tracing and FreeSurfer methods and to estimate their agreement. Results indicated that these two methods derived highly correlated results with strong agreement. After controlling for the age, sex and intracranial volume in statistical group analysis, both the manual tracing and FreeSurfer methods yield similar patterns: both the MCI group and the AD group showed hippocampal volume reduction compared to both the HC group and the CC group, and the HC and CC groups did not differ. These comparisons suggest that FreeSurfer has the potential to be used in automated determination of hippocampal volumes for large-scale MCI/AD-related MRI studies, where manual methods are inefficient or not feasible.