Neuroimaging in dementia

by Dr Dane Rayment, Dr Lauren McCluskey, Professor Iain Lyburn and Dr Tarun Kuruvilla


Last updated: February 2017


It is estimated that one million people in the UK will be living with dementia by 2021, with dementia care currently costing the economy an estimated £23 billion per year (Lakey et al, 2012).


Diagnosis of the condition is becoming easier with the emergence of neuroimaging, which is now used as the leading ancillary investigation. Its traditional purpose was to rule out potentially treatable causes for cognitive impairment, e.g. tumours, haematomas and hydrocephalus, however advances in technology mean that it is now also used to support diagnosis of the dementia subtype. Most clinical guidelines now recommend at least one structural imaging procedure in every patient where dementia is suspected (Waldemar et al, 2007; NICE, 2006).


In this module we review the role of neuroimaging in dementia assessment. The module also provides a practical guide for improving the clinician’s skill in the appropriate use and evaluation of brain scans.


Start the module


The authors of this module have donated their fee to the Alzheimer's Society.

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Book from RCPsych Publications: Dementia: The NICE-SCIE guideline on supporting people with dementia and their carers in health and social care

© 2021 Royal College of Psychiatrists