Cortical asymmetries in normal, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer's disease

Jong Hun Kim, Jong Weon Lee, Geon Ha Kim, Jee Hoon Roh, Min Jeong Kim, Sang Won Seo, Sung Tae Kim, Seun Jeon, Jong Min Lee, Kenneth M. Heilman, Duk L. Na

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


There are functional and structural neocortical hemispheric asymmetries in people with normal cognition. These asymmetries may be altered in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) because there is a loss of neuronal connectivity in the heteromodal cortex. The purpose of this study is to test the hypothesis that individuals with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), mild AD, and moderate to severe AD have progressive reductions in thickness asymmetries of the heteromodal neocortex. Right-handed elderly volunteers including normal cognition (NC), aMCI, and AD underwent 3-D volume imaging for cortical thickness. Although the cortical asymmetry pattern observed in normal cognition brains was generally maintained in aMCI and AD, there was a progressive decrease in the degree of asymmetry, especially in the inferior parietal lobule. A reduction of neocortical asymmetries may be a characteristic sign that occurs in patients with AD. Future studies are needed to evaluate whether this loss is specific to AD and if measurements of asymmetry can be used as diagnostic markers and for monitoring disease progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1959-1966
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant of the Korea Health 21 R&D Project, Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family Affairs, Republic of Korea ( A050079 ).

Funding Information:
Dr. Heilman receives research support from the state of Florida, NIDCD/NIH (T-32 grant, 1T32DC008768-01 ), VA-Merit Review (#114-30-4813), University of Florida Opportunity Fund and NIH ( R21 DC009247 ). Also, he was sponsored by Myriad, Novartis, Esai, and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Inc., for drug studies. The remaining authors report no disclosures.


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cerebral asymmetry
  • Cortical thickness
  • Mild cognitive impairment


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