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Keywords:

  • SPECT;
  • PET;
  • PMRS;
  • diffusion tensor imaging;
  • parkinsonism;
  • dementia;
  • functional imaging

Abstract

Neuropsychiatric symptoms, including dementia, frequently coexist with parkinsonian disorders and may cause diagnostic confusion as well as management problems. Functional imaging studies include single photon emission computerised tomography (SPECT), positron emission tomography (PET), proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging, and functional magnetic resonance imaging. This review addresses the utility of these techniques, from the clinician's perspective, focusing on the most common causes of parkinsonism and cognitive impairment, Parkinson's disease with dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and Alzheimer's disease. The potential and limitations of these techniques for accurate and early diagnosis, monitoring disease progression, and establishing the pathophysiological basis underlying key clinical features are considered. The development of new probes for SPECT and PET cameras capable of labeling protein aggregates (e.g., β-amyloid) will offer exciting new insights into the spatial and temporal pattern of pathophysiological processes. Longitudinal studies with clinicopathological correlation represent the “gold standard” for fully evaluating functional imaging techniques. © 2003 Movement Disorder Society