Evidence-based evaluation of magnetic resonance imaging as a diagnostic tool in dementia workup

Top Magn Reson Imaging. 2005 Dec;16(6):427-37. doi: 10.1097/01.rmr.0000245463.36148.12.


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.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Comorbidity
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / epidemiology*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity