A number of different methods have been employed to correct hippocampal volumes for individual variation in head size. Researchers have previously used qualitative visual inspection to gauge hippocampal atrophy. The purpose of this study was to determine the best measure(s) of hippocampal size for predicting memory functioning in 102 community-dwelling individuals over 80 years of age. Hippocampal size was estimated using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) volumetry and qualitative visual assessment. Right and left hippocampal volumes were adjusted by three different estimates of head size: Total intracranial volume (TICV), whole-brain volume including ventricles (WB+V) and a more refined measure of whole-brain volume with ventricles extracted (WB). We compared the relative efficacy of these three volumetric adjustment methods and visual ratings of hippocampal size in predicting memory performance using linear regression. All four measures of hippocampal size were significant predictors of memory performance. TICV-adjusted volumes performed most poorly in accounting for variance in memory scores. Hippocampal volumes adjusted by either measure of whole-brain volume performed equally well, although qualitative visual ratings of the hippocampus were at least as effective as the volumetric measures in predicting memory performance in community-dwelling individuals in the ninth or tenth decade of life.
- Magnetic resonance imaging