The utility of PET brain imaging in the initial evaluation of dementia

J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2007 Mar;8(3):150-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2006.10.004. Epub 2006 Dec 22.


Given the challenges and benefits of timely and accurate diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders and the importance of appropriate subsequent treatments, physicians and patients alike desire tools that aid in diagnosing dementia as early and as precisely as possible. One of these tools may be functional brain imaging, specifically positron emission tomography (PET). Recent technological advancements, ongoing research studies, and approval for reimbursement by various insurance companies and Medicare, under certain circumstances, have led to an increased interest in the use of this tool in the evaluation of dementia. This article will review PET brain imaging in the initial assessment and diagnosis of dementia, including its place in current guidelines and role in diagnostic algorithms, its applicability in differentiating among various dementia syndromes and major psychiatric disorders, and some of the controversies surrounding its utility in general clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / economics
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / economics
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / trends
  • Prevalence
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • United States / epidemiology