Korean J Nucl Med.  2004 Jun;38(3):209-217.

The Role of Functional Imaging Techniques in the Dementia

  • 1Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, College of Medicine, Yonsei University, South Korea. ryuyh@yumc.yonsei.ac.kr


Evaluation of dementia in patients with early symptoms of cognitive decline is clinically challenging, but the need for early, accurate diagnosis has become more crucial, since several medication for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer' disease are available. Many neurodegenerative diseases produce significant brain function alteration even when structural imaging (CT or MRI) reveal no specific abnormalities. The role of PET and SPECT brain imaging in the initial assessment and differential diagnosis of dementia is beginning to evolve rapidly and growing evidence indicates that appropriate incorporation of PET into the clinical work-up can improve diagnostic and prognostic accuracy with respect to Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia in the geriatric population. In the fast few years, studies comparing neuropathologic examination with PET have established reliable and consistent accuracy for diagnostic evaluations using PET - accuracies substantially exceeding those of comparable studies of diagnostic value of SPECT or of both modalities assessed side by side, or of clinical evaluations done without nuclear imaging. This review deals the role of functional brain imaging techniques in the evaluation of dementias and the role of nuclear neuroimaging in the early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.


Dementia; Alzheimer's disease; PET; FDG; functional brain imaging; SPECT; MRI; MRS

MeSH Terms

Alzheimer Disease
Diagnosis, Differential
Functional Neuroimaging
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
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