The association of neuropsychiatric symptoms with regional brain volumes from patients in a tertiary multi-disciplinary memory clinic

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Background: To examine the interaction between structural brain volume measures derived from a clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and occurrence of neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in outpatient memory clinic patients. Methods: Clinical and neuroimaging data were collected from the medical records of outpatient memory clinic patients who were seen by neurologists, geriatric neuropsychiatrists, and geriatricians. MRI scan acquisition was carried out on a 3 T Siemens Verio scanner at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Image analyses used an automated multi-label atlas fusion method with a geriatric atlas inventory to generate 193 anatomical regions from which volumes were measured. Regions of interest were generated a priori based on previous literature review of NPS in dementia. Regional volumes for agitation, apathy, and delusions were carried forward in a linear regression analysis. Results: Seventy-two patients had clinical and usable neuroimaging data that were analyzed and grouped by Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE). Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire (NPI-Q) agitation was inversely associated with rostral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) bilaterally and left subcallosal ACC volumes in the moderate severity group. Delusions were positively associated with left ACC volumes in both severe and mild groups but inversely associated with the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in the moderate subgroup. Conclusions: Agitation, apathy, and delusions are associated with volumes of a priori selected brain regions using clinical data and clinically acquired MRI scans. The ACC is an anatomic region common to these symptoms, particularly agitation and delusions, which closely mirror the findings of research-quality studies and suggest its importance as a behavioral hub.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-244
Number of pages12
JournalInternational psychogeriatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Neuropsychiatric symptoms
  • dementia
  • memory clinics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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