Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

View all recommendations from this society

Released February 21, 2013

Don’t use PET imaging in the evaluation of patients with dementia unless the patient has been assessed by a specialist in this field.

  • Without objective evidence of dementia, the potential benefit of PET is unlikely to justify the cost or radiation risk.
  • Dementia subtypes have overlapping patterns in PET imaging. Clinical evaluation and imaging often provide additive information and should be assessed together to make a reliable diagnosis and to plan care.
  • For β-amyloid PET imaging, it is not currently known what a positive PET result in a cognitively normal person means; this method is not established for an individual prediction.

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

The president of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) appointed a Steering Committee, led by the president-elect, to develop the “Top 5” list. This committee solicited input from five SNMMI clinical specialty councils (cardiovascular, brain, nuclear oncology, general nuclear medicine, pediatric) and our PET Center of Excellence. A task force made up of the Steering Committee and specialty council/center leadership convened, and its members also provided recommendations. The Steering Committee reviewed and ranked the submissions and presented the five highest-ranked statements to the SNMMI Board of Directors and House of Delegates.

SNMMI’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be obtained by contacting the organization (


Herholz K, Carter SF, Jones M. Positron emission tomography imaging in dementia. Br J Radiol [Internet]. 2007 Dec [cited 2012 Oct 19];80:S160-7.

Drzezga A. Amyloid-plaque imaging in early and differential diagnosis of dementia. Ann Nucl Med [Internet]. 2010 Feb [cited 2012 Oct 19];24:55-66.

Drzezga, A. Basic pathologies of neurodegenerative dementias and their relevance for state-of-the-art molecular imaging studies. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging [Internet]. 2008 Mar [cited 2012 Oct 19];35 (Suppl 1):S4-S11.

Schroeter ML, Raczka K, Neumann J, Yves von Cramon D. Towards a nosology for frontotemporal lobar degenerations-a meta-analysis involving 267 subjects. Neuroimage [Internet]. 2007 Jul 1 [cited 2012 Oct 19];36(3):497-510.

Vlassenko AG, Mintun MA, Xiong C, Sheline YI, Goate AM, Benzinger TL, Morris JC. Amyloid-beta plaque growth in cognitively normal adults: longitudinal [11C]Pittsburgh compound B data. Ann Neurol [Internet]. 2011 Nov [cited 2012 Oct 19];70(5):857-61.