Neuroimaging has become part of the required investigations when assessing a patient with dementia. In this brief paper, we summarize the role of computed tomography (CT) in the routine work-up in dementia and provide some information about the role of the CT scan in the field of dementia research.
Although CT is far less sensitive than magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in detecting changes associated with cognitive impairment, it may still have a role in this regard. This role is mainly that of detecting secondary, sometimes treatable causes of cognitive impairment, such as intracranial masses. In this sense, CT should be seen as a first-line tool. Possible advantages of CT are lower cost; shorter acquisition time, making it more adaptable to patients with poor compliance; and the possibility that it can be performed in patients with metal devices, such as a pacemaker.
The role of CT in the field of dementia research is very restricted in comparison to that of MRI, and is limited to the structural assessment of vascular lesions, and to a lesser extent, to that of degenerative changes, particularly when using specific slicing.