Two contrasting multivariate statistical methods, viz., principal components analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis were applied to the study of neuropathological variations between cases of Alzheimer's disease (AD). To compare the two methods, 78 cases of AD were analyzed, each characterised by measurements of 47 neuropathological variables. Both methods of analysis revealed significant variations between AD cases. These variations were related primarily to differences in the distribution and abundance of senile plaques (SP) and neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) in the brain. Cluster analysis classified the majority of AD cases into five groups which could represent subtypes of AD. However, PCA suggested that variation between cases was more continuous with no distinct subtypes. Hence, PCA may be a more appropriate method than cluster analysis in the study of neuropathological variations between AD cases.
- Alzheimer's disease
- multivariate analysis
- principal components analysis
- cluster analysis
- neuropathological variables