The use of PET/MRI in Dementia: A Literature Review

Nicole Lorking, Alison D. Murray, John T. O'Brien* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Positron emission tomography-magnetic resonance imaging (PET/MRI) is an emerging hybrid imaging system in clinical nuclear medicine. Research demonstrates a comparative utility to current unimodal and hybrid methods, including positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET/CT), in several medical subspecialities such as neuroimaging. The aim of this review is to critically evaluate the literature from 2016 to 2021 using PET/MRI for the investigation of patients with mild cognitive impairment or dementia, and discuss the evidence base for widening its application into clinical practice.

A comprehensive literature search using the PubMed database was conducted to retrieve studies using PET/MRI in relation to the topics of mild cognitive impairment, dementia, or Alzheimer's disease between January 2016 and January 2021. This search strategy enabled studies on all dementia types to be included in the analysis. Studies were required to have a minimum of 10 human subjects and incorporate simultaneous PET/MRI.

A total of 116 papers were retrieved, with 39 papers included in the final selection. These were broadly categorised into reviews (12), technical/methodological papers (11), and new data studies (16). For the current review, discussion focused on findings from the new data studies.

PET/MRI offers additional insight into the underlying anatomical, metabolic, and functional changes associated with dementia when compared with unimodal methods and PET/CT, particularly relating to brain regions including the hippocampus and default mode network. Furthermore, the improved diagnostic utility of PET/MRI, as reported by radiologists, offers improved classification of dementia patients, with important implications for clinical management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1501-1513
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number10
Early online date12 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2021


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • dementia
  • hybrid imaging
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • neuroimaging
  • positron emission tomography


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