Myotonic dystrophy type 1 and 2 (DM1/DM2) are multisystemic diseases with common cognitive deficits beside the cardinal muscular symptoms. We performed a comprehensive analysis of cerebral abnormalities to compare the neuropsychological defects with findings in different imaging methods in the same cohort of patients.Neuropsychological investigations, structural cerebral MRI including brain parenchymal fraction (BPF) and voxel-based morphometry (VBM), and (18)F-deoxy-glucose PET (FDG-PET) were performed in patients (20 DM1 and 9 DM2) and matched healthy controls, and analyzed using statistical parametric mapping (SPM2).DM1 and DM2 patients showed typical neuropsychological deficits with a pronounced impairment of nonverbal episodic memory. Both patient groups showed a reduction of the global gray matter (measured by BPF), which could be localized to the frontal and parietal lobes by VBM. Interestingly, VBM revealed a bilateral hippocampal volume reduction that was correlated specifically to both a clinical score and episodic memory deficits. VBM also revealed a pronounced change of thalamic gray matter. White matter lesions were found in >50% of patients and their extent was correlated to psychomotor speed. FDG-PET revealed a frontotemporal hypometabolism, independent of the decrease in cortical gray matter. All abnormalities were similar in both patient groups but more pronounced for DM1.Our results suggest that 1) some of the characteristic cognitive deficits of these patients are linked to specific structural cerebral changes, 2) decreases in gray matter and metabolism are independent processes, and 3) the widespread brain abnormalities are more pronounced in DM1.