Close this search box.

Predicting Dementia: Groundbreaking New Study

Predicting Dementia - Neurologist checking brain imaging results

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, is one of the toughest challenges in healthcare. However, a new study published in JAMA Neurology has found a new way to predict if someone with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) will develop dementia. This research shows that tau PET (positron emission tomography) scans are better than other methods like amyloid-β (Aβ) PET scans and MRI. This breakthrough can change how we diagnose and treat dementia in the future.

Key Findings from the Study

1. Better Predictions with Tau PET

  • Tau PET vs. Aβ PET and MRI: Tau PET scans were more accurate in predicting who with MCI would develop dementia. The study showed that tau PET scans had an AUC (Area Under the Curve) of 0.75 for all types of dementia and 0.84 for Alzheimer’s disease dementia, which is better than models using Aβ PET and MRI.

2. Combining Tau PET and MRI

  • Increased Accuracy: When tau PET scans were used with MRI, the predictions were even more accurate for both all types of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease dementia. This means using both tools together gives the best results.

3. Tau PET Alone is Powerful

  • Standalone Effectiveness: Tau PET scans alone showed the highest potential as a tool for predicting dementia in people with MCI. This suggests tau PET scans can be very effective in clinical settings.

Why This Matters for Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis

Better Early Diagnosis

This study suggests that tau PET scans could change how we diagnose Alzheimer’s disease early. By predicting dementia more accurately, tau PET scans can help doctors find people at high risk sooner. Early detection is important for starting treatments that can slow down the disease and improve patients’ quality of life.

Improved Monitoring of Patients

Tau PET scans can also be used to track the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This is especially useful in clinical trials where it’s essential to see how well new treatments are working.

Impact on Clinical Trials and Dementia Research

Selecting the Right Patients

Tau PET scans can help choose the best patients for clinical trials by accurately identifying those most likely to develop dementia. This ensures that trials have participants who can benefit the most from new treatments, improving the chances of successful outcomes.

More Efficient Trials

With the accuracy of tau PET scans, clinical trials can be more efficient and focused. Researchers can better assess treatment effectiveness and develop new strategies faster, advancing Alzheimer’s disease research.

Practical Tips for Patients and Caregivers

For those dealing with MCI or dementia, it’s important to understand these advancements. Here are some practical steps:

  1. Ask About Imaging Options: If you or a loved one has MCI, talk to your doctor about the benefits of tau PET scanning.
  2. Join a Support Group: Consider joining a local support group for patients with dementia and MCI. Support groups can provide emotional support, practical advice, and a sense of community, helping patients and caregivers cope with the challenges of the condition.
  3. Stay Updated: Keep informed about new research and technologies in dementia diagnosis and treatment.
  4. Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Manage risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and manage stress.


The study by Groot et al. (2024) shows that tau PET scans can greatly improve how we predict dementia. This advancement not only helps with early diagnosis and monitoring but also has a big impact on future research and clinical trials. As we move forward, tau PET scanning stands out as a promising tool in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, offering new ways for effective treatment and better patient care.


Groot, C., Smith, R., Collij, L. E., Mastenbroek, S. E., Stomrud, E., Binette, A. P., … & Hansson, O. (2024). Tau Positron Emission Tomography for Predicting Dementia in Individuals With Mild Cognitive Impairment. JAMA Neurology. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2024.1612

For more information and personalized neurological care for dementia in New York and New Jersey, visit

About The Author

Picture of Ashwin Malhotra, M.D.

Ashwin Malhotra, M.D.

Ashwin Malhotra, M.D. is a highly respected neurologist based in New York City. With over 20 years of experience in the field of neurology, he has earned a reputation as a leading expert in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and traumatic brain injuries. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Malhotra is also a dedicated educator and researcher. He has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed medical journals and has presented his research at national and international conferences.