Vol 55, No 6 (2021)
Review Article
Published online: 2021-10-12

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Neuroimaging in Parkinson’s Disease: necessity or exaggeration?

Katarzyna Śmiłowska1, Małgorzata Burzyńska-Makuch23, Bogna Brockhuis4, Radosław Piekarski56, Andrzej Friedman7, Aleksandra Popek8, Jarosław Sławek56
Pubmed: 34637136
Neurol Neurochir Pol 2021;55(6):536-548.


Introduction: Neuroimaging plays an increasingly important role in the diagnosis of parkinsonian syndromes. Aim of the study: In this paper, the authors elaborate on the necessity of using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and its potential role in differential diagnosis versus other neurodegenerative parkinsonian syndromes such as dementia with Lewy bodies, multiple system atrophy, progressive supranuclear palsy and corticobasal syndrome. State of the art: The currently known characteristic abnormalities are listed and tabulated, current recommendations are summarised and sample images are provided. As routine MRI scanning in PD remains controversial, the authors’ aim is to show the pros and cons in clinical practice. Additionally, the rationale for functional imaging examination, including [123I]-FP-CIT SPECT (DaTSCAN) and [99mTc]- HMPAO-SPECT, [18F]-FDG-PET, [123I]-mIBG-SPECT is discussed. Clinical vignette: This paper is accompanied by two illustrative clinical cases in which neuroimaging studies played a key role in diagnosis and further management. Conclusions: Neuroimaging can be helpful in differentiating PD from both atypical and symptomatic parkinsonism. Nevertheless, extensive neurological assessment in a majority of PD cases is sufficient to make a diagnosis. A network of specialists in movement disorders should be established in order to enable better, faster and more precise diagnosis of parkinsonism.

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