MRI of secondary changes in the thalamus following a cerebral infarct
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Abstract. We investigated acute secondary degeneration in the thalamus following a cerebral infarct in 21 patients with an infarct in the territory of the middle cerebral artery, using serial MRI at various time after the stroke. Secondary degeneration in the ventral nuclei of the thalamus was seen as regions of slightly low signal on proton-density and/or T2-weighted images, mostly obtained a few weeks after the onset. An area of slightly high signal was observed in the dorsomedial nucleus of the thalamus on T2-weighted images about 6 weeks after the onset. Damage to the superior and anterior thalamic radiation caused degeneration in the ventral and dorsomedial nucleus, respectively. Thus, the time of detection and the abnormalities seen on MRI in secondary degeneration vary depending upon which area of the thalamus is involved. The mechanism underlying the degeneration is therefore also likely to differ in these areas.
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