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Widespread sensorimotor and frontal cortical atrophy in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

BMC neurology | Apr 25, 2006

BACKGROUND: Widespread cortical atrophy in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) has been described in neuropathological studies. The presence of cortical atrophy in conventional and scientific neuroimaging has been a matter of debate. In studies using computertomography, positron emission tomography, proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy and conventional T2-weighted and proton-weighted images, results have been variable. Recent morphometric studies by magnetic resonance imaging have produced conflicting results regarding the extent of grey and white matter involvement in ALS patients. METHODS: The authors used optimized voxel-based morphometry as an unbiased whole brain approach to detect differences between regional grey and white matter volumes. Seventeen patients with a diagnosis of ALS according to El-Escorial criteria and seventeen age-matched controls received a high resolution anatomical T1 scan. RESULTS: In ALS patients regional grey matter volume (GMV) reductions were found in the pre- and postcentral gyrus bilaterally which extended to premotor, parietal and frontal regions bilaterally compared with controls (p < 0.05, corrected for the entire volume). The revised ALS functional rating scale showed a positive correlation with GMV reduction of the right medial frontal gyrus corresponding to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. No significant differences were found for white matter volumes or when grey and white matter density images were investigated. There were no further correlations with clinical variables found. CONCLUSION: In ALS patients, primary sensorimotor cortex atrophy can be regarded as a prominent feature of the disease. Supporting the concept of ALS being a multisystem disorder, our study provides further evidence for extramotor involvement which is widespread. The lack of correlation with common clinical variables probably reflects the fact that heterogeneous disease processes underlie ALS. The discrepancy within all published morphometric studies in ALS so far may be related to differences in patient cohorts and several methodological factors of the data analysis process. Longitudinal studies are required to further clarify the time course and distribution of grey and white matter pathology during the course of ALS.

Pubmed ID: 16638121 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Adult | Aged | Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis | Brain | Female | Frontal Lobe | Humans | Magnetic Resonance Imaging | Male | Middle Aged | Prefrontal Cortex | Reference Values | Severity of Illness Index | Somatosensory Cortex

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McConnell Brain Imaging Center

A research center dedicated to understanding and treatment of neurological diseases by creating and using imaging methods to study the human nervous system. BIC is one of the largest scientific communities in North America dedicated solely to research imaging of the human brain. Today, the BIC consists of a core group of 16 faculty members, conducting independent research with high technology brain scanners and sophisticated computational analysis. It also houses approximately 70 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers and over 25 technicians and administrative staff. The BIC also hosts approximately 30 affiliate faculty members from McGill and beyond who conduct their imaging research studies in collaboration with the core group. The center emphasizes quantitative multi-modal 3-D investigation of brain structure and function. Brain structure is imaged using anatomical Magnetic Resonance Imaging (aMRI) while brain physiology is imaged using Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS), functional MRI (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG). The BIC maintains strong linkages with the clinical, clinical research and basic research communities within the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), McGill University and has collaborations across Quebec, Canada, USA and internationally. The McConnell Brain Imaging Center is a stimulating multidisciplinary environment whose scientists are world leaders in neuroimaging research domains that span the spectrum from basic imaging methodology to clinical investigations in most all major neurological and psychiatric disorders. In this dynamic multi-disciplinary research environment, BIC''s faculty train graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from a range of McGill University departments including neuroscience, biomedical engineering, neurology, psychology, medical physics, computer science, chemistry and neurosurgery. Being housed within the Neuro, consisting of the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, and having strong partnerships with the Douglas Hospital and Jewish General Hospital, via the Montreal Consortium for Brain Imaging Research, we also benefit from deep interactions with our clinical colleagues that enable the investigation of most all major neurological and psychiatric diseases. Services: - Software: The current and previous members of the BIC have written and released a large number of software packages, some of these releases date back to the late 1980''s. The most recognized of these is the MINC file format, toolbox and associated tools. The current MINC2 library and tools are maintained by a group of developers in various image research labs around the world. - Atlas: There are various atlases that are available from the BIC in the MINC format. - BrainWeb: Stimulated Brain Database. he SBD contains a set of realistic MRI data volumes produced by an MRI simulator. These data can be used by the neuroimaging community to evaluate the performance of various image analysis methods in a setting where the truth is known. Currently, the SBD contains simulated brain MRI data based on two anatomical models: normal and multiple sclerosis (MS). For both of these, full 3-dimensional data volumes have been simulated using three sequences (T1-, T2-, and proton-density- (PD-) weighted) and a variety of slice thicknesses, noise levels, and levels of intensity non-uniformity. These data are available for viewing in three orthogonal views (transversal, sagittal, and coronal), and for downloading. Further details about the creation of the SBD are available.

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