Amyloid-beta plaques are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD) that can be assessed by amyloid imaging (e.g., Pittsburgh B compound [PiB]) and summarized as a scalar value. Summary values may have clinical utility but are an average over many regions of interest, potentially obscuring important topography. This study investigates the longitudinal evolution of amyloid topographies in cognitively normal older adults who had normal (N = 131) or abnormal (N = 26) PiB scans at baseline. At 3 years follow-up, 16 participants with a previously normal PiB scan had conversion to PiB scans consistent with preclinical AD. We investigated the multivariate relationship (canonical correlation) between baseline and follow-up PiB topographies. Furthermore, we used penalized regression to investigate the added information derived from PiB topography compared to summary measures. PiB accumulation can be local, that is, a topography predicting the same topography in the future, and/or distributed, that is, one topography predicting another. Both local and distributed PiB accumulation was associated with conversion of PiB status. Additionally, elements of the multivariate topography, and not the commonly used summary scalar, correlated with future PiB changes. Consideration of the entire multivariate PiB topography provides additional information regarding the development of amyloid-beta pathology in very early preclinical AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-111
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
StatePublished - 2016


  • Amyloid beta
  • Canonical correlation
  • Lasso
  • Multivariate statistics


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