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Alzheimer's Disease

MRI Testing and Alzheimer's Disease

11/05/2007

Question:

Hello, my mother who is 64 had a MRI done 1 month ago. It said she had mild ventriculomegaly, prominence of the sulci and of the sylvain fissures, the occipital horns are large. In the T-2 & FLAIR views the centrum semiovale bilaterally there are multiple high signal intensity lesions with the largest one measuring 1cm, high signal intensity also noted in the corpus callosum. Moderate cortical cerbral and cerebellar atrophic changes. Marked atrophy of the medial tennporallobles bilaterally. The doctor told us she has Alzheimer`s because of this MRI. Is this accurate? Are there any other tests to confirm this? Thank you

Answer:

An MRI scan is not a reliable way to diagnose Alzheimer's disease. While atrophy is common in Alzheimer's disease, it is my no means the only condition that will cause it.

A careful history and examination combined with mental status testing is the best way to diagnose Alzheimer's disease. Laboratory evaluations and MRI scans help to rule out other possible causes.

In your mother's case, the MRI is showing high intensity signals that could suggest vascular or demyleinating disease.

For more information:

Go to the Alzheimer's Disease health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Douglas W Scharre, MD Douglas W Scharre, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University