Brain Imaging and Behavior

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 293–299 | Cite as

Incidental findings on brain magnetic resonance imaging in the elderly:the PROOF study

  • Claire Boutet
  • François Vassal
  • Sébastien Celle
  • Fabien C. Schneider
  • Jean-Claude Barthélémy
  • Bernard Laurent
  • Fabrice-Guy Barral
  • Frédéric Roche
Brief Communication


To prospectively evaluate the prevalence of incidental findings on standardized brain MRI scans in a cohort of elderly subjects. All participants provided written informed consent to participate in this prospective study, which was approved by the institutional review board and was HIPAA compliant. There were 503 subjects (75.3 ± 0.9 years of age, 58 % women) who received brain MRIs on a 1.5-T scanner using a standard acquisition protocol. All scans were reviewed by an experienced neuroradiologist. Incidental findings were stratified as follows: 1, no incidental findings; 2, incidental findings without clinical significance; 3, incidental findings with clinical significance or requiring clinical follow-up. Incidental findings were identified in 77.9 % of subjects. Among 392 scans that exhibited incidental findings, 494 abnormalities were identified. The most common findings in our study were cysts (45.9 % of subjects) and ear, nose, and throat (ENT) lesions (24.8 %) followed by stroke lesions (6.6 %) and neoplasms (3.8 %). There were 472 incidental findings that lacked clinical significance (group 2), and 22 incidental findings that required follow-up evaluation (group 3). Incidental findings on brain MRIs were commonly observed in this cohort of elderly subjects, but clinical follow-up was rarely indicated.


Brain Magnetic resonance imaging Incidental findings Elderly 


Compliance with ethical standards


This study was funded by a grant from the French Ministry of Health (Cellule Projet Hospitalier de Recherche Clinique National, Direction de la Recherche Clinique, CHU Saint-Etienne; Appel d’Offre 1998 and 2002) and by a grant from Association SYNAPSE.

Clinical Trial Registration: NCT 00759304; NCT00766584.

Conflict of Interest

Claire Boutet declares that she has no conflict of interest. François Vassal declares that he has no conflict of interest. Sébastien Celle declares that he has no conflict of interest. Fabien Schneider declares that he has no conflict of interest. Jean-Claude Barthélémy declares that he has no conflict of interest. Bernard Laurent declares that he has no conflict of interest. Fabrice-Guy Barral declares that he has no conflict of interest. Frédéric Roche declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Inserm, U1059, University Lyon, CHU Saint-Etienne, Service de RadiologieSaint EtienneFrance
  2. 2.Neurosurgery, CHU Saint-EtienneSaint EtienneFrance
  3. 3.Clinical Physiology-VISAS Center, EA-4607-SNA-EPIS, CHU Saint-Etienne, COMUE-Lyon-St-EtienneSaint EtienneFrance
  4. 4.Neurology/Neuropsychology, CHU-Saint-EtienneSaint EtienneFrance

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