MRI Study Shows Dementia Prediction Promise

MRI equipment in the East Imaging Building.

New research from Mallinckrodt Institue of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of California San Francisco suggests physicians may one day be able to use MRI scans to predict a patient’s risk of dementia before symptoms arise.

Cyrus A. Raji, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of radiology and the study’s lead author, Tammie L. S. Benzinger, MD, PhD, a professor of radiology, and colleagues analyzed MRI scans for physical signs of impending cognitive decline using diffusion tensor imaging, a new technique that assesses the brain’s white matter health. The scans predicted with 89% accuracy who would go on to develop dementia within three years.

Raji says identifying those at high risk of developing dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease patients, could help doctors provide appropriate care and give patients time to make lifestyle arrangements while they are still in full control of their faculties.

Read more from the School of Medicine.