J Am Geriatr Soc. 2008 May;56(5):920-34. Epub 2008 Apr 9.
Given the predicted increase in prevalence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in the coming decades, early detection and intervention in persons with the predementia condition known as mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is of paramount importance. Recent years have seen remarkable advances in the application of neuroimaging and other biomarkers to the study of MCI. This article reviews the most recent developments in the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to characterize brain changes and to prognosticate clinical outcomes of patients with MCI. The review begins with description of methods and findings in structural MRI research, delineating findings regarding both gross atrophy and microstructural brain changes in MCI. Second, we describe the most recent findings regarding brain function in MCI, enumerating findings from functional MRI and brain perfusion studies. Third, we will make recommendations regarding the current clinical use of MRI in identification of MCI. As a conclusion, we will look to the future of neuroimaging as a tool in early AD detection.