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

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


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.


  • Lars-Olof Wahlund
  • Ove Almkvist
  • Kaj Blennow
  • Knut Engedahl
  • Aki Johanson
  • Gunhild Waldemar
  • Henrike Wolf
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology


  • Dementia workup, medial temporal lobe, Alzheimer disease, specificity, sensitivity, likelihood ratios, evidence-based medicine, magnetic resonance imaging, diagnosis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-437
JournalTopics in Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

PMID: 17088692 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]