Principal components analysis of Alzheimer's disease based on neuropathological data: a study of 79 patients

Richard A. Armstrong, D. Myers, C.U.M. Smith

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


A principal components analysis was carried out on neuropathological data collected from 79 cases of Alzheimer's disease (AD) diagnosed in a single centre. The purpose of the study was to determine whether on neuropathological criteria there was evidence for clearly defined subtypes of the disease. Two principal components (PC1 and PC2) were extracted from the data. PC1 was considerable more important than PC2 accounting for 72% of the total variance. When plotted in relation to the first two principal components the majority of cases (65/79) were distributed in a single cluster within which subgroupings were not clearly evident. In addition, there were a number of individual, mainly early-onset cases, which were neither related to each other nor to the main cluster. The distribution of each neuropathological feature was examined in relation to PC1 and 2, Disease onset, rhe degree of gross brain atrophy, neuronal loss and the devlopment of senile plaques (SP) and neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) were negatively correlated with PC1. The devlopment of SP and NFT and the degree of brain athersclerosis were positively correlated with PC2. These results suggested: 1) that there were different forms of AD but no clear division of the cases into subclasses could be made based on the neuropathological criteria used; the cases showing a more continuous distribution from one form to another, 2) that disease onset was an important variable and was associated with a greater development of pathological changes, 3) familial cases were not a distinct subclass of AD; the cases being widely distributed in relation to PC1 and PC2 and 4) that there may be two forms of late-onset AD whic grade into each other, one of which was associated with less SP and NFT development but with a greater degree of brain atherosclerosis.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Event9th International Meeting of the Brain Research Association - , United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jan 19921 Jan 1992


Conference9th International Meeting of the Brain Research Association
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

Abstract appearing in Neurosci Lett 42: S38


  • neuropathological data
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • neuropathological criteria
  • brain atherosclerosis


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