The purpose of this study was to elucidate whether cerebral blood flow (CBF) can better characterize perfusion abnormalities in predementia stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD) than cerebral blood volume (CBV) and whether cortical atrophy is more associated with decreased CBV or with decreased CBF. We compared measurements of CBV, CBF, and mean cortical thickness obtained from magnetic resonance images in a group of healthy controls, patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who converted to AD after 2 years of clinical follow-up (MCI-c), and patients with mild AD. A significant decrease in perfusion was detected in the parietal lobes of the MCI-c patients with CBF parametric maps but not with CBV maps. In the MCI-c group, a negative correlation between CBF values and cortical thickness in the right parahippocampal gyrus suggests an increase in CBF that depends on cortical atrophy in predementia stages of AD. Our study also suggests that CBF deficits appear before CBV deficits in the progression of AD, as CBV abnormalities were only detected at the AD stage, whereas CBF changes were already detected in the MCI stage. These results confirm the hypothesis that CBF is a more sensitive parameter than CBV for perfusion abnormalities in MCI-c patients.