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Keywords:

  • Alzheimer's disease;
  • amyloid imaging;
  • dementia;
  • diagnosis;
  • guidelines;
  • magnetic resonance imaging;
  • positron emission tomography;
  • single photon emission computed tomography

Background and purpose

The European Federation of the Neurological Societies (EFNS) guidelines on the use of neuroimaging in the diagnosis and management of dementia are designed to revise and expand previous EFNS recommendations for the diagnosis and management of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and to provide an overview of the evidence for the use of neuroimaging techniques in non-AD dementias, as well as general recommendations that apply to all types of dementia in clinical practice.

Methods

The task force working group reviewed evidence from original research articles, meta-analyses and systematic reviews, published before April 2012. The evidence was classified, and consensus recommendations were given and graded according to the EFNS guidance regulations.

Results

Structural imaging, which should be performed at least once in the diagnostic work-up of patients with cognitive impairment, serves to exclude other potentially treatable diseases, to recognize vascular lesions and to identify specific findings to help distinguish different forms of neurodegenerative types of dementia. Although typical cases of dementia may not benefit from routine functional imaging, these tools are recommended in those cases where diagnosis remains in doubt after clinical and structural imaging work-up and in particular clinical settings. Amyloid imaging is likely to find clinical utility in several fields, including the stratification of patients with mild cognitive impairment into those with and without underlying AD and the evaluation of atypical AD presentations.

Conclusions

A number of recommendations and good practice points are made to improve the diagnosis of AD and other dementias.