Anatomical MRI measures of cortical brain thickness have been recently evaluated. In normal aging there is a decrease in cortical thickness, which presents an anterior-posterior gradient, being more prominent in Frontal and Parietal than in Temporal and Occipital lobes. There are regional differences between both sexes. In Alzheimer’s disease the reduction in cortical thickness is significantly greater. The sensitivity of AD diagnosis by measurements of cortical thickness is close to 90%, which is higher than with other anatomical measures. In early AD the regions affected are usually medial temporal lobe regions, such as: the hippocampus and entorhinal cortices.
In my opinion, if we combine these anatomical MRI measures with functional ones such as with PET or SPECT, we should obtain higher sensitivity values approaching 100%. This is because anatomical and functional measures are usually synergistic.
The following is a good paper related to this subject:
Thambisetty M, etal., Longitudinal changes in cortical thickness associated with normal aging, NeuroImage, 52 (2010) 1215-1223.
Adolfo Cotter, MD