Statement on a City-wide Standardized Clinical Dementia MRI Protocol

To the TDRA Community of Clinicians and Researchers:

A strategic area of focus for the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance (TDRA) is the standardization of care.  Imaging plays a key role in diagnosing neurodegenerative diseases.  Until now there has not been a standardized imaging protocol for dementia.  The TDRA is therefore pleased to announce agreement on a common clinical MRI protocol for dementia across partner sites.

Although the protocols are not identical, this standard set of MRI sequences strives to ensure that identifiable pathologies would be equally detectable at each site. The sequences include a high-resolution 3-D T1, FLAIR, SWI, DWI, which together allow for identification of focal/global atrophy, hippocampal atrophy, small vessel white matter disease burden and acute infarction.  Gradient Echo (GRE) is the clinical standard to detect microbleeds, and may be added to the protocol or substituted for SWI.  Having this standardization in place lays the foundation to leverage these images for research in the future.

We will provide each of the partner sites with the make- and model-specific settings that will ensure images are comparable across sites and MRI scanners.

By taking such an approach, we can ensure a consistent level of information is provided to neurologists, which improves their ability to diagnose the cause of dementia in their patients. This approach also creates a broad library of neurodegenerative diseases to teach the next generation of trainees.  Ultimately, our hope is that a common protocol will support research and improve recruitment to clinical trials that will lead to better prevention, treatment and care for people at risk for, or living with dementia.

Below, you will see listed the partner institutes who have agreed to use our Standardized Clinical Dementia MRI protocol.

If you are interested in using this protocol at your site, please contact us.

Best regards,

Tarek K. Rajji
Executive Director, TDRA


Committed Users of the TDRA Standardized Clinical Dementia MRI Protocol

Institution: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Institution: The University Health Network (UHN)

Institution: St. Michael's Hospital