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Ultra-high-field MRI may allow earlier diagnosis of Parkinson's disease

Date:
March 5, 2014
Source:
Radiological Society of North America
Summary:
Ultra-high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides detailed views of a brain area implicated in Parkinson's disease, possibly leading to earlier detection of a condition that affects millions worldwide. Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive disease characterized by shaking, stiffness, and impaired balance and coordination. With no radiologic techniques available to aid in diagnosis, clinicians have had to rely on medical history and neurological examination. It is often difficult to distinguish Parkinson's disease from other conditions using these methods alone.
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Images show axial spin-echo proton density (on the right) and GRE (on the left) of the SN at level I of an ex vivo brain sample in a 67-year-old woman. There is a triple-layered organization of the SN comparable to that showed in the in vivo images. Ventrally a low-signal-intensity layer (b) is attributable to the pars reticulata of the SN. In the middle part of the SN, a hyperintense band (c) corresponds to the ventral component of the pars compacta of the SN. The lateral part of this layer shows a high-signalintensity spot (c1) corresponding to the oval shape hyperintensity of the in vivo three-dimensional multiecho susceptibility-weighted images that resemble the nigrosome formation. The dorsal hypointense layer visible on both spin-echo and GRE images (d) is referred to the dorsal component of the pars compacta of the SN. a = crus cerebri, e = brachjum conjunctivum, f = medial lemniscus, g = lateral lemniscus, h = central tegmental tract.
Credit: Radiological Society of North America

New research shows that ultra-high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides detailed views of a brain area implicated in Parkinson's disease, possibly leading to earlier detection of a condition that affects millions worldwide. The results of this research are published online in the journal Radiology.

Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive disease characterized by shaking, stiffness, and impaired balance and coordination. With no radiologic techniques available to aid in diagnosis, clinicians have had to rely on medical history and neurological examination. It is often difficult to distinguish Parkinson's disease from other conditions using these methods alone.

Mirco Cosottini, M.D., from the University of Pisa in Italy, and colleagues studied the brains of 38 individuals, including 17 Parkinson's disease patients and 21 healthy controls, as well as a brain specimen from a deceased individual, to help determine the accuracy of ultra-high-field 7-Tesla (7-T) MRI for identifying Parkinson's disease.

Using the 7-T MRI, the researchers were able to distinguish a three-layered organization of the substantia nigra (SN), a crescent-shaped mass of cells in the midbrain. Parkinson's disease results from the loss of dopamine-producing cells located in this region of the brain. Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter involved in multiple brain functions, including motor and behavioral processes such as mood, reward, addiction and stress.

Based on abnormalities in the SN identified by the 7-T MRI, the researchers correctly classified patients with Parkinson's disease with a sensitivity of 100 percent and specificity of 96.2 percent.

According to Dr. Cosottini, the results show promise for earlier detection of the disease, which could speed the initiation of treatment.

"Parkinson's disease diagnosis remains clinically based, but with the introduction of 7-T MRI into clinical practice, a supporting radiologic diagnosis can be made," he said.

The researchers also are exploring the clinical utility of 7-T MRI in several other neurodegenerative diseases, including mild cognitive impairment, a precursor of Alzheimer's disease.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Radiological Society of North America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mirco Cosottini, Daniela Frosini, Ilaria Pesaresi, Mauro Costagli, Laura Biagi, Roberto Ceravolo, Ubaldo Bonuccelli, Michela Tosetti. MR Imaging of the Substantia Nigra at 7 T Enables Diagnosis of Parkinson Disease. Radiology, 2014; 131448 DOI: 10.1148/radiol.14131448

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Radiological Society of North America. "Ultra-high-field MRI may allow earlier diagnosis of Parkinson's disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140305084842.htm>.
Radiological Society of North America. (2014, March 5). Ultra-high-field MRI may allow earlier diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140305084842.htm
Radiological Society of North America. "Ultra-high-field MRI may allow earlier diagnosis of Parkinson's disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140305084842.htm (accessed August 2, 2015).

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