Magnetic resonance imaging and 1H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
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We aimed to increase confidence in the combined use of MRI and proton MR spectroscopy (1H-MRS) in diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We investigated 12 patients with ALS, seven definite and five probable, taking into account clinical measures of motor neuron function. On T2-weighted images we found high signal in the corticospinal tract in six and low signal in the primary motor cortex in seven of the 12 patients. Atrophy of the precentral gyrus was apparent in all the patients apart from one with probable ALS. Absolute quantification of cerebral metabolites using 1H-MRS demonstrated a significantly lower mean concentration of N-acetylaspartate (NAA) in the precentral gyrus of patients with probable and definite ALS (8.5 ± 0.62) than in control subjects (10.4 ± 0.71; P < 0.001). NAA concentration in primary motor cortex correlated with Norris scale scores (r = 0.30; P < 0.0001) but not with the ALS Functional Rating Scale score or disease duration. Significantly lower levels of NAA were detected in patients with low signal in the motor cortex than in those without (P < 0.01). Mean choline (Cho) and creatine (Cr) values did not differ between patients with ALS and controls.
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