The ability to identify the underlying causes of dementia has the potential to enable the provision of the most appropriate treatment(s) and possibly (one day) slow or halt progression of the disease. This systematic review and meta-analysis compares the accuracy of MRI and CT brain imaging, and investigates whether MRI is superior to CT in detecting a vascular component to dementia in patients with vascular dementia (VaD), combined Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and VaD (“mixed dementia”), and AD.
The most widely reported imaging finding checked against autopsy results are white matter hyperintensities. General infarcts are the most specific imaging finding on MRI and CT but neither imaging finding has consistently high sensitivity. In non-autopsy studies MRI appears to yield more accurate than CT imaging findings, but confidence intervals are wide.
There is insufficient evidence that MRI is superior to CT for detecting the cerebrovascular changes in autopsy-confirmed and clinical cohorts of VaD, AD, and “mixed dementia”.
Beynon, R. Sterne, JA. Wilcock, G. [et al]. Is MRI better than CT for detecting a vascular component to dementia? A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Neurology. June 6th 2012; Vol.12(1): 33. [Epub ahead of print]. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).