MRI Dementia Biomarker Screen

What is a Biomarker?

In a person suspected of dementia or related brain diseases, brain shrinkage occurs before the onset of symptoms. These changes in the brain are called biomarkers and can be detected with MRI by using a technique called brain volumetry.

An MRI Brain with Volumetry showing different structures that have been mapped with AI.

What is the role of MRI in Dementia?

An MRI scan is a painless and non-invasive imaging procedure that utilizes magnetic energy to image the brain. There is no radiation or contrast dye injection involved.

It is the most comprehensive imaging tool in the primary evaluation of a person demonstrating symptoms suspected of dementia, memory loss, and related brain diseases. It also helps to exclude underlying treatable causes such as tumors, stroke, and vascular malformations.

Hippocampus volume (biomarker) compared on a percentile chart.

How does it differ from a routine MRI scan?

A routine MRI scan of the brain only takes photos of the brain. MRI brain volumetry is an enhanced imaging test that takes photos and volume measurements of the brain.

It provides better visualization of brain shrinkage not seen on routine MRI scans of the brain. The imaging experience is the same but with additional disease biomarker information provided in the report.

It also provides detailed information regarding blood vessel damage that is useful in the assessment of vascular dementia (MRI Dementia Screen Plus).

You may learn more about this scan by reading our aticle, Seeing What We Don't See: Dementia A-Eye. You can also watch our recorded CME talk about this scan here.

How is the procedure performed?

During the MRI scan, you will lie flat on a motorized bed, which will move you into the scanner head first. A frame will be placed over your head during the scan.

A radiographer trained in carrying out the procedure will operate the MRI scanner.

How should I prepare?

You may eat, drink, or take any medication as usual on the day of the scan unless otherwise advised.

At the imaging department, our staff will ask you questions regarding your health and medical history to ensure that you have a safe and comfortable imaging experience.

It is essential to remove any metal objects from the body. The MRI scanner produces strong magnetic fields that can damage the items or cause injury to yourself or the staff. Examples of these items include:

  • piercings such as ear, nipple, and nose rings
  • jewelry, such as earrings and neckless
  • dentures (false teeth)
  • watches
  • wigs (some wigs contain traces of metal)

You will be required to change into a hospital gown before the procedure. A locker will be provided for you to store your valuable items.

What should I expect during, and after, the procedure?

During the Scan

The scan is a painless procedure that will take 8, 15, or 30 minutes depending on the specific type of scan.

It is essential to keep as still as possible during the scan to obtain clear images.

You will be given earplugs to protect your ears as there will be loud, repetitive noises during the procedure.

If you experience claustrophobia, you may be advised to undergo the procedure with sedation.

After the Scan

You will be able to leave the hospital immediately after the procedure.

If you were sedated for the procedure, you would rest in a recovery room until you are awake and feel well enough to leave.

How should I order the scan?

There are 3 types of dementia biomarker screen MRI scans available in Farrer Park Hospital:

  • MRI Dementia Screen (Includes MRI Brain + MRI Volumetry)
  • MRI Dementia Screen Plus (Includes MRI Brain + MRA Brain + MRA Carotid + MRI Volumetry)
  • MRI Volumetry Only (for patients with recent MRI brain imaging or for follow up volumetry)

You may check with your doctor or reach out to us at +65 6363 1818 to find out more. You may also send an enquiry here.

Should you feel unwell after the procedure, contact your doctor immediately or call our 24-Hour Medical Urgency Clinic

We are always happy to help.