MR spectroscopy is a noninvasive technique that allows the detection of several naturally occurring compounds (metabolites) from well-defined regions of interest within the human brain. Alzheimer disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, is the most common cause of dementia in the elderly. During the past 20 years, multiple studies have been performed on MR spectroscopy in patients with both mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease. Generally, MR spectroscopy studies have found decreased Nacetylaspartate and increased myo-inositol in both patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease, with greater changes in Alzheimer disease than in mild cognitive impairment. This review summarizes the information content of proton brain MR spectroscopy and its related technical aspects, as well as applications of MRspectroscopy to mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease. While MR spectroscopy may have some value in the differential diagnosis of dementias and assessing prognosis, more likely its role in the near future will be predominantly as a tool for monitoring disease response or progression in treatment trials. More work is needed to evaluate the role of MR spectroscopy as a biomarker in Alzheimer disease and its relationship to other imaging modalities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology