Background: Both movement (MD) and cognitive (CD) disorders can occur associated in some neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Objective: We further investigated the usefulness of 123I-Ioflupane SPECT and 18F-FDG PET combined use in patients with these disorders in the early stage.
Methods: We retrospectively enrolled twenty-five consecutive patients with MD and CD clinical symptoms of recent appearance. All patients had undergone neurologic examination, neuropsychological tests, and magnetic resonance imaging. 123I-Ioflupane SPECT was performed in all cases, followed by 18F-FDG PET two weeks later. In the two procedures, both qualitative (QL) and quantitative (QN) image analyses were determined.
Results: In patients with both 123I-Ioflupane SPECT and 18F-FDG PET pathologic data, associated dopaminergic and cognitive impairments were confirmed in 56% of cases. Pathologic SPECT with normal PET in 16% of cases could diagnose MD and exclude an associated CD, despite clinical symptoms. On the contrary, normal SPECT with pathologic PET in 28% of cases could exclude basal ganglia damage while confirming CD. QN 123I-Ioflupane SPECT analysis showed better performance than QL since QN correctly characterized two cases of MD with normal QL. Moreover, correct classification of normal metabolism was made only by QN analysis of 18F-FDG PET in four cases, despite suspect areas of hypometabolism at QL.
Conclusion: The combined use of these imaging procedures proved a reliable diagnostic tool to accurately identify and characterize MD and CD in early stage. QN analysis was effective in supporting QL evaluation, and its routine use is suggested, especially with inconclusive QL.