PURPOSE OF REVIEW This article discusses neuroimaging in dementia diagnosis, with a focus on new applications of MRI and positron emission tomography (PET). RECENT FINDINGS Although the historical use of MRI in dementia diagnosis has been supportive to exclude structural etiologies, recent innovations allow for quantification of atrophy patterns that improve sensitivity for supporting the diagnosis of dementia causes. Neuronuclear approaches allow for localization of specific amyloid and tau neuropathology on PET and are available for clinical use, in addition to dopamine transporter scans in dementia with Lewy bodies and metabolic studies with fludeoxyglucose PET (FDG-PET). SUMMARY Using computerized software programs for MRI analysis and cross-sectional and longitudinal evaluations of hippocampal, ventricular, and lobar volumes improves sensitivity in support of the diagnosis of Alzheimer disease and frontotemporal dementia. MRI protocol requirements for such quantification are three-dimensional T1-weighted volumetric imaging protocols, which may need to be specifically requested. Fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) and 3.0T susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) sequences are useful for the detection of white matter hyperintensities as well as microhemorrhages in vascular dementia and cerebral amyloid angiopathy. PET studies for amyloid and/or tau pathology can add additional specificity to the diagnosis but currently remain largely inaccessible outside of research settings because of prohibitive cost constraints in most of the world. Dopamine transporter PET scans can help identify Lewy body dementia and are thus of potential clinical value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)800-821
Number of pages22
JournalCONTINUUM Lifelong Learning in Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


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