7T MRI for neurodegenerative dementias in vivo: a systematic review of the literature

Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry
Published online 4 March 2017

Elizabeth Frances McKiernanJohn Tiernan O’Brien


The spatial resolution of 7T MRI approaches the scale of pathologies of interest in degenerative brain diseases, such as amyloid plaques and changes in cortical layers and subcortical nuclei. It may reveal new information about neurodegenerative dementias, although challenges may include increased artefact production and more adverse effects. We performed a systematic review of papers investigating Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Lewy body dementia (LBD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Huntington’s disease (HD) in vivo using 7T MRI. Of 19 studies identified, 15 investigated AD (the majority of which examined hippocampal subfield changes), and 4 investigated HD. Ultrahigh resolution revealed changes not visible using lower field strengths, such as hippocampal subfield atrophy in mild cognitive impairment. Increased sensitivity to susceptibility-enhanced iron imaging, facilitating amyloid and microbleed examination; for example, higher microbleed prevalence was found in AD than previously recognised.


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