MRI demonstration and CT correlation of the brain in patients with idiopathic intracerebral calcification
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Twenty-two patients aged 36–63 years were diagnosed as having Fahr's syndrome on the basis of the presence on CT of unexpected extensive calcification of the basal ganglia. Even when associated with calcification of other brain areas, the main diagnostic criterion remained basal ganglia calcification larger than 800 mm2. Normal values of parathormone, serum calcium and phosphorus excluded hypercalcaemia and hypoparathyroidism. Mitochondrial CNS disease was excluded clinically. MRI and repeated CT and neurological examination were performed in all of the patients. The patients were divided into two groups: neurologically asymptomatic (group 1) and neurologically symptomatic (group 2). T2-weighted sequences demonstrated hyperintense areas in all of the patients involving the white and the grey matter of the brain. In group 1 the hyperintense lesions were significantly smaller than in group 2. The neurological symptoms correlated better with the hyperintensities on T2-weighted MR images than with the calcification demonstrated on CT. Hyperintensities in T2-weighted MRI and the areas shown by CT to have calcification had different locations. In 15 patients with dementia, the white matter of the entire centrum semiovale was bilaterally hyperintense. In another 3 patients with hemiparesis, hyperintense areas in the internal capsule, contralateral to the side of hemiparesis, were demonstrated in the T2-weighted sequence. The hyperintense T2 signals may reflect a slowly progressive, metabolic or inflammatory process in the brain which subsequently calcifies and are probably responsible for the neurological deficit observed.
Key wordsMagnetic resonance imaging Computed tomography Fahr's syndrome Intracerebral calcification
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