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Delineating Dementia with Lewy Bodies: Can Magnetic Resonance Imaging Help?
Frontiers of Neurology and Neuroscience
As future treatments increasingly target the protein chemistry underlying the different dementias, itbecomes crucially important to distinguish between the dementias during life. Neither specific proteinnor genetic markers are as yet available in clinical practice. However, neuroimaging is an obviouscandidate technique that may yield enhanced diagnostic accuracy when applied to thedementias. The physiopathology and anatomopathology is complex in dementia with Lewy bodies(DLB). Besides the relative sparing of medial temporal lobe structures in DLB in comparison toAlzheimer's disease, no clear signature pattern of cerebral atrophy associated with DLB has beenestablished so far. Among others, one reason may be the difficulty in visualizing the small brainnuclei that are differentially involved among the dementias. While we think that structural magneticresonance imaging neuroimaging should be part of the diagnostic workup of most dementia syndromesdue to its usefulness in the differential diagnosis, its contribution to a positive diagnosis ofDLB is as yet limited. The development of different neuroimaging techniques may help distinguishreliably DLB from other neurodegenerative disorders. However, in order to become accepted as partof standard care, these techniques must still prove their effectiveness under routine conditions suchas those encountered by the general practitioner.
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