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Research project

Quantitatively assessing brain MRI to diagnose dementia (Theia)

Status: Ongoing project

We investigate whether automatic normative quantification of brain MRI contributes to earlier and more accurate diagnosis of dementia in the memory clinic.

What we do

About our project


Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may support dementia diagnosis, but detecting early abnormalities visually and distinguishing these from normal aging remains difficult. Quantitative normative assessment of MRI may be more sensitive to abnormalities and enables comparison of individual patients’ brain volumes to reference data from a healthy aging population. By comparing such normative quantification to routine visual assessment, we aim to investigate whether it facilitates earlier and more accurate diagnosis of dementia, and what its impact is on diagnostic confidence. Additionally, we are exploring options to introduce quantitative assessment in memory clinics in the greater Rotterdam region.


Diagnostic MRI for dementia varies considerably between memory clinics in the greater Rotterdam region, rendering new MRI-scans necessary when patients are referred. We aim to standardize MRI-protocols in the region, so scans can be exchanged instead of having to be repeated. At the same time, at the Alzheimer Center Erasmus MC, we have introduced quantitative assessment of MRI in addition to routine visual assessment for diagnosis of dementia, as this is more sensitive to subtle abnormalities and less dependent on reader experience. Regional standardization of MRI protocols will eventually make quantitative assessment possible in all hospitals in the region.



Our research focus

Quantitative neuroimaging in dementia

This work focuses on the application of quantitative MRI for dementia, both within the clinical setting of the Alzheimer Center Erasmus MC as well as the population neuroimaging research line of the Rotterdam Study, with the ultimate goal to build a bridge between these fields.  Therefore we investigate how population-based imaging information can facilitate the imaging diagnosis of dementia. Through implementation in Quantib™ ND Radiology Software, this project specifically assesses the value of using reference data derived from the Rotterdam Study to compare MRI data from individual dementia patients in the Alzheimer Center Erasmus MC to.


Funds & Grants

Stichting Theia, een innovatiefonds van Zilveren Kruis


Department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine
Department of Neurology
Department of Geriatrics
Department of Epidemiology

Outside Erasmus MC

Quantib B.V.

Our team

Rebecca Steketee

Karlijn de Visser

Marion Smits

Meike Vernooij