People who are suspected to have dementia will often ask can an MRI detect dementia.
MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) and CT (computed tomographic) scans are the most common types of brain scans that doctors use when they want to confirm whether a person has a neurodegenerative illness or not.
Brain Scans and Dementia
Below, however, we will focus on answering the query, “Can an MRI detect dementia?”
Why Doctors Consider MRI to Detect Dementia
Medical experts will advise on the use of MRI when they suspect that a person has dementia.
MRI uses focused radio waves and magnetic fields to detect the presence of hydrogen atoms in tissues in the human body.
MRI scans also reveal the brain’s anatomic structure with 3D imaging allowing doctors to get a clear view of the current state of the organ.
This way, the doctor is able to rule out other health problems like hydrocephalus, hemorrhage, stroke, and tumors that can mimic dementia.
With these scans, physicians can also detect loss of brain mass that relates to different types of dementia.
fMRI (functional MRI) records blood flow changes that are linked to the activities of the brain. This may help physicians differentiate dementia types.
Verywellhealth.com also suggests that MRI scans can at times identify reversible cognitive decline.
In such a case, a doctor will recommend appropriate treatment that will reverse this decline and restore cognitive functioning.
MRI Scans can show dementia
According to researchers from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the answer to can an MRI detect dementia is to some extent yes.
The scientists explained that doctors have an easier time telling whether a person has dementia through MRI scans.
This gets rid of the need to carry out invasive tests that people find unfriendly like the lumbar puncture where a doctor must stick a needle in the spine.
Additionally, it also helps to speed up the diagnosis process which is important seeing that dementia diagnosis for the longest time has been a struggle for medics often leading to delayed treatment.
In addition to telling whether a person has dementia, MRI scans may in the future help doctors determine whether an individual is at risk of dementia according to new research.
Research from the University of California San Francisco and the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis conducted a small study where MRI brain scans were able to predict with 89% accuracy the people who were going to develop dementia in three years.
The researchers presented their findings in Chicago during a Radiological Society of North America meeting.
It suggested that in a few years, physicians will be able to tell people their risk of developing dementia before they start to showcase any symptoms of the neurodegenerative illness.
To answer the query can an MRI detect dementia it is safe to say that for now, doctors can use MRI scans as well as other diagnostic procedures to tell whether a person has dementia.
With time, however, researchers are hopeful that they will perfect MRI techniques.
These will improve the doctor’s ability to diagnose various forms of dementia with better accuracy using the scans alone.