Magnetic resonance imaging and neuropsychological results from a trial of memantine in Alzheimer’s disease
Year of Publication 2011
Background: This study was designed to assess changes in brain volume and cognitive abilities in memantine-treated patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by using an exploratory, single-arm, delayed-start design.; Methods: Cholinesterase inhibitor-treated patients with AD (N = 47; Mini-Mental State Examination score range: 15-23) were enrolled in an observational lead-in period (weeks: 1-24), followed by an open-label period of add-on memantine treatment (weeks: 25-48). The patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging at weeks 0 (baseline), 24 (immediately before memantine initiation), and 48 (endpoint), and a battery of neuropsychological tests at weeks 0, 24, 28, 36, and 48. The primary outcome measure was the annualized rate of change (%) in total brain volume (TBV) between the two study periods. Data were analyzed using paired t-tests.; Results: There were no statistically significant differences in the rates of change in TBV, ventricular volume, or left hippocampal volume between the study periods; however, the memantine treatment period was associated with a significantly slower right hippocampal atrophy (-5.5% ± 12.0% vs -10.8% ± 7.2%; P = .038). Memantine treatment was also associated with superior performances on the Boston Naming Test (P = .034) and the Trail Making Test, Part B (P = .001), but also with a higher number of errors (i.e., repetitions and intrusions) on the California Verbal Learning Test. Memantine was found to be safe and well tolerated.; Conclusions: In this study, no difference in the rates of TBV change between the two periods was observed; however, memantine treatment was found to be associated with slowing of right hippocampal atrophy, and with improvement on one test of executive functioning as well as a test of confrontation naming ability. Trials using structural magnetic resonance imaging and a delayed-start design may be a feasible option for the assessment of treatments for AD.; Copyright © 2011 The Alzheimer’s Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.