Neuroimaging markers for the prediction and early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease dementia

Trends Neurosci. 2011 Aug;34(8):430-42. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2011.05.005. Epub 2011 Jun 21.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive age-related neurodegenerative disease. At the time of clinical manifestation of dementia, significant irreversible brain damage is already present, rendering the diagnosis of AD at early stages of the disease an urgent prerequisite for therapeutic treatment to halt, or at least slow, disease progression. In this review, we discuss various neuroimaging measures that are proving to have potential value as biomarkers of AD pathology for the detection and prediction of AD before the onset of dementia. Recent studies that have identified AD-like structural and functional brain changes in elderly people who are cognitively within the normal range or who have mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are discussed. A dynamic sequence model of changes that occur in neuroimaging markers during the different disease stages is presented and the predictive value of multimodal neuroimaging for AD dementia is considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / complications*
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / pathology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / pathology
  • Dementia / diagnosis*
  • Dementia / etiology*
  • Dementia / pathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Predictive Value of Tests


  • Biomarkers