Background: The diagnostic utility of magnetic resonance imaging in dementia workups has increased recently. The basic use is to exclude space-occupying processes in the brain. However, magnetic resonance imaging offers major opportunities for studying atrophy of specific brain areas. A great interest has been put in whether atrophy in the medial temporal lobe can serve as an early diagnostic marker for Alzheimer disease.
Methods and results: In this evaluation, we used evidence-based techniques and reviewed more than 400 articles that address this issue. Our main finding is that a variety of methods in studying brain areas were used, and this made it difficult to extract conclusive information in a systematic way.
Conclusion: However, we were able to conclude that atrophy of the hippocampus can distinguish patients with Alzheimer disease from healthy subjects, but there was a lack of evidence because of insufficient studies concerning the usefulness of medial temporal lobe atrophy as a diagnostic marker in a more general setting.