Diagnostic Utility of Hippocampal Volumetric Data in a Memory Disorder Clinic Setting

Robert Ruchinskas, Trung Nguyen, Kyle Womack, Alka Khera, Fang F. Yu, Brendan J. Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Hippocampal volumetric data are widely used in research but are rarely examined in clinical populations in regard to aiding diagnosis or correlating with objective memory test scores. Objective: To replicate and expand on the few prior clinical examinations of the utility of hippocampal volumetric data. We evaluated MRI volumetric data to determine (a) the degree of hippocampal loss across diagnostic groups compared with a cognitively intact group, (b) if total or lateralized hippocampal volumes predict diagnostic group membership, and (c) how total and lateralized volumes correlate with memory tests. Method: We retrospectively examined hippocampal volumetric data and memory test scores for 294 individuals referred to a memory clinic. Results: Individuals with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer disease had smaller hippocampal volumes compared with cognitively intact individuals. The raw and normalized total and lateralized hippocampal volumes were essentially equal for predicting diagnostic group membership, and notably low hippocampal volumes evidenced greater specificity than sensitivity. All of the volumetric data correlated with the memory test scores, with the total and left hippocampal volumes accounting for the slightly more variance in the diagnostic groups. Conclusion: The diagnostic groups exhibited hippocampal volume loss, which can be a potential biomarker for neurodegenerative disease in clinical practice. However, solely using hippocampal volumetric data to predict diagnostic group membership or memory test failure was not supported. While extreme hippocampal volume loss was rare in the cognitively intact group, the sensitivity of these volumetric data suggests a need for supplementation by other tools when making a diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-75
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 3 2022


  • Alzheimer disease
  • hippocampus
  • memory
  • neuroimaging


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