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Imaging Biomarkers in Alzheimer's Disease: A Practical Guide for Clinicians.

  • Author(s): Sheikh-Bahaei, Nasim
  • Sajjadi, Seyed Ahmad
  • Manavaki, Roido
  • Gillard, Jonathan Harvey
  • et al.

Although recent developments in imaging biomarkers have revolutionized the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease at early stages, the utility of most of these techniques in clinical setting remains unclear. The aim of this review is to provide a clear stepwise algorithm on using multitier imaging biomarkers for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease to be used by clinicians and radiologists for day-to-day practice. We summarized the role of most common imaging techniques and their appropriate clinical use based on current consensus guidelines and recommendations with brief sections on acquisition and analysis techniques for each imaging modality. Structural imaging, preferably MRI or alternatively high resolution CT, is the essential first tier of imaging. It improves the accuracy of clinical diagnosis and excludes other potential pathologies. When the results of clinical examination and structural imaging, assessed by dementia expert, are still inconclusive, functional imaging can be used as a more advanced option. PET with ligands such as amyloid tracers and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose can improve the sensitivity and specificity of diagnosis particularly at the early stages of the disease. There are, however, limitations in using these techniques in wider community due to a combination of lack of facilities and expertise to interpret the findings. The role of some of the more recent imaging techniques including tau imaging, functional MRI, or diffusion tensor imaging in clinical practice, remains to be established in the ongoing and future studies.

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