Reduced sample sizes for atrophy outcomes in Alzheimer's disease trials: baseline adjustment

Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (SciVal)


Cerebral atrophy rate is increasingly used as an outcome measure for Alzheimer's disease (AD) trials. We used the Alzheimer's disease Neuroimaging initiative (ADNI) dataset to assess if adjusting for baseline characteristics can reduce sample sizes. Controls (n = 199), patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) (n = 334) and AD (n = 144) had two MRI scans, 1-year apart; approximately 55% had baseline CSF tau, p-tau, and Abeta1-42. Whole brain (KN-BSI) and hippocampal (HMAPS-HBSI) atrophy rate, and ventricular expansion (VBSI) were calculated for each group; numbers required to power a placebo-controlled trial were estimated. Sample sizes per arm (80% power, 25% absolute rate reduction) for AD were (95% CI): brain atrophy = 81 (64,109), hippocampal atrophy = 88 (68,119), ventricular expansion = 118 (92,157); and for MCI: brain atrophy = 149 (122,188), hippocampal atrophy = 201 (160,262), ventricular expansion = 234 (191,295). To detect a 25% reduction relative to normal aging required increased sample sizes approximately 3-fold (AD), and approximately 5-fold (MCI). Disease severity and Abeta1-42 contributed significantly to atrophy rate variability. Adjusting for 11 predefined covariates reduced sample sizes by up to 30%. Treatment trials in AD should consider the effects of normal aging; adjusting for baseline characteristics can significantly reduce required sample sizes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1452-1462,e2
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2010


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease/pathology
  • Atrophy
  • Brain/pathology
  • Cerebral Ventricles/pathology
  • Cognition Disorders/pathology
  • Female
  • Hippocampus/pathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
  • Male
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic/methods
  • Sample Size
  • Treatment Outcome


Dive into the research topics of 'Reduced sample sizes for atrophy outcomes in Alzheimer's disease trials: baseline adjustment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this