Quantitative FLAIR MRI in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
ABSTRACT: T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) hyperintensity assessed visually in the corticospinal tract (CST) lacks sensitivity for a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We sought to explore a quantitative approach to fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) MRI intensity across a range of ALS phenotypes.Thirty-three classical ALS patients, 10 with a flail arm presentation, and six with primary lateral sclerosis underwent MRI at 3 Tesla. Comparisons of quantitative FLAIR intensity in the CST and corpus callosum were made between 21 healthy controls and within patient phenotypic subgroups, some of whom were studied longitudinally.Mean FLAIR intensity was greater in patient groups. The cerebral peduncle intensity provided the strongest subgroup classification. FLAIR intensity increased longitudinally. The rate of change of FLAIR within CST correlated with rate of decline in executive function and ALS functional rating score.FLAIR MRI encodes quantifiable information of potential diagnostic, stratification, and monitoring value.
Project description:Clinical signs of upper motor neuron (UMN) involvement are important in the diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) though are often difficult to analyze. Many studies using both qualitative and quantitative evaluations have reported abnormal Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) findings at the level of the pyramidal pathway in patients with ALS. Although the most interesting results were obtained by quantitative studies using advanced MR techniques, the qualitative evaluation of MRI images remains the most-used in clinical practice. We evaluated the diagnostic and prognostic contribution of conventional 3T-MRI in the clinical work-up of ALS patients. Two neuroradiologists retrospectively assessed 3T-MRI data of 93 ALS patients and 89 controls. The features of interest were corticospinal tract (CST) T2/FLAIR hyperintensity, motor cortex (MC) T2*/SWI hypointensity, and selective MC atrophy. All MRI features were significantly more prevalent in ALS patients than in controls. The simultaneous presence of CST FLAIR hyperintensity and MC SWI hypointensity was associated with the highest diagnostic accuracy (sensitivity: 70%; specificity: 81%; positive predictive value, PPV: 90%; negative predictive value, NPV: 51%; accuracy: 73%) and a shorter survival (HR: 6.56, p = 0.002). Conventional 3T-MRI can be a feasible tool to detect specific qualitative changes based on UMN involvement and to support clinical diagnosis of ALS. Importantly, CST FLAIR hyperintensity and MC SWI hypointensity are predictors of shorter survival in ALS patients.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Considering the great heterogeneity of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the identification of accurate prognostic predictors is fundamental for both the clinical practice and the design of treatment trials. This study aimed to explore the progression of clinical and structural brain changes in patients with ALS, and to assess magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures of brain damage as predictors of subsequent functional decline. METHODS:50 ALS patients underwent clinical evaluations and 3 T MRI scans at regular intervals for a maximum of 2 years (total MRI scans = 164). MRI measures of cortical thickness, as well as diffusion tensor (DT) metrics of microstructural damage along white matter (WM) tracts were obtained. Voxel-wise regression models and longitudinal mixed-effects models were used to test the relationship between clinical decline and baseline and longitudinal MRI features. RESULTS:The rate of decline of the ALS Functional Rating Scale revised (ALSFRS-r) was significantly associated with the rate of fractional anisotropy (FA) decrease in the body of the corpus callosum (CC). Corticospinal tract (CST) and CC-body alterations had a faster progression in patients with higher baseline ALSFRS-r scores and greater CC-body disruption at baseline. Lower FA of the cerebral peduncle was associated with faster subsequent clinical progression. CONCLUSIONS:In this longitudinal study, we identified a significant association between measures of WM damage of the motor tracts and functional decline in ALS patients. Our data suggest that a multiparametric approach including DT MRI measures of brain damage would provide an optimal method for an accurate stratification of ALS patients into prognostic classes.
Project description:Whether longitudinal diffusion tensor MRI imaging (DTI) can capture disease progression in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is unclear. The primary goal of this study was to determine if DTI detects progression of the corticospinal tracts (CST) degeneration in ALS. Seventeen ALS patients and 19 age- and gender-matched healthy controls were scanned with DTI at baseline for cross-sectional analyses. For longitudinal analyses, the ALS patients had repeat DTI scans after eight months. Tractography of the CST was used to guide regions-of-interest (ROI) analysis and complemented by a voxelwise analysis. Cross-sectional study found that baseline FA of the right superior CST was markedly reduced in ALS patients compared to controls. The FA reductions in this region correlated with the disease severity in ALS patients. Longitudinal study found that FA change rate of the right superior CST significantly declined over time. In conclusion, longitudinal DTI study captures progression of upper motor fiber degeneration in ALS. DTI can be useful for monitoring ALS progression and efficacy of treatment interventions.
Project description:The extent of central nervous system involvement in Kennedy's disease (KD) relative to other motor neuron disease (MND) phenotypes still needs to be clarified. In this study, we investigated cortical and white matter (WM) MRI alterations in 25 patients with KD, compared with 24 healthy subjects, 25 patients with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and 35 cases with lower motor neuron-predominant disease (LMND). LMND patients were clinically differentiated into 24 fast and 11 slow progressors. Whole-brain cortical thickness, WM tract-based spatial statistics and corticospinal tract (CST) tractography analyses were performed. No significant difference in terms of cortical thickness was found between groups. ALS patients showed widespread decreased fractional anisotropy and increased mean (MD) and radial diffusivity (radD) in the CST, corpus callosum and fronto-temporal extra-motor tracts, compared with healthy controls and other patient groups. CST tractography showed significant alterations of DT MRI metrics in ALS and LMND-fast patients whereas KD and LMND-slow patients were comparable with healthy controls. Our study demonstrated the absence of WM abnormalities in patients with KD and LMND-slow, in contrast with diffuse WM damage in ALS and focal CST degeneration in LMND-fast, supporting the use of DT MRI measures as powerful tools to differentiate fast- and slow-progressing MND syndromes, including KD.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by cortical and spinal motor neuron dysfunction. Routine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have previously shown hypointense signal in the motor cortex on T(2)-weighted images in some ALS patients, however, the cause of this finding is unknown. To investigate the utility of this MR signal change as a marker of cortical motor neuron degeneration, signal abnormalities on 3T and 7T MR images of the brain were compared, and pathology was obtained in two ALS patients to determine the origin of the motor cortex hypointensity. Nineteen patients with clinically probable or definite ALS by El Escorial criteria and 19 healthy controls underwent 3T MRI. A 7T MRI scan was carried out on five ALS patients who had motor cortex hypointensity on the 3T FLAIR sequence and on three healthy controls. Postmortem 7T MRI of the brain was performed in one ALS patient and histological studies of the brains and spinal cords were obtained post-mortem in two patients. The motor cortex hypointensity on 3T FLAIR images was present in greater frequency in ALS patients. Increased hypointensity correlated with greater severity of upper motor neuron impairment. Analysis of 7T T(2)(*)-weighted gradient echo imaging localized the signal alteration to the deeper layers of the motor cortex in both ALS patients. Pathological studies showed increased iron accumulation in microglial cells in areas corresponding to the location of the signal changes on the 3T and 7T MRI of the motor cortex. These findings indicate that the motor cortex hypointensity on 3T MRI FLAIR images in ALS is due to increased iron accumulation by microglia.
Project description:We sought to define the significance of brachial amyotrophic diplegia (flail arm syndrome [FA]) and the pseudopolyneuritic variant (flail leg syndrome [FL]) of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; motor neuron disease).We analyzed survival in clinic cohorts in London, UK (1,188 cases), and Melbourne, Australia (432 cases). Survival from disease onset was analyzed using the Kaplan- Meier method and Cox proportional hazards model.In the London cohort, the FA syndrome represented 11% and the FL syndrome 6% of the sample. Median survival was 35 months for limb onset and 27 months for bulbar onset ALS, whereas this was 61 months for FA syndrome (p < 0.001) and 69 months for FL syndrome (p < 0.001). Five-year survival in this cohort was 8.8% for bulbar onset, 20% for limb onset, 52% for FA syndrome, and 64% for FL syndrome. The ratio of men to women was 4:1 in the FA group compared to 2:1 in other limb onset cases. Excluding lower motor neuron FA and FL cases, progressive muscular atrophy comprised 4% of the sample and had a prognosis similar to typical limb onset ALS. In the Melbourne cohort, median survival for limb onset ALS was 31 months, bulbar onset 27 months, FA syndrome 66 months (p < 0.001), and FL syndrome 71 months (p = 0.001).The flail arm (FA) and flail leg (FL) syndromes had significantly better survival than typical amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or progressive muscular atrophy cases that were not classified as FA or FL. Our findings underline the clinical and prognostic importance of the FA and FL variants of ALS.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To evaluate clinical fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR)* 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is sensitive to perivenular inflammatory demyelinating lesions, in diagnosing multiple sclerosis (MS). BACKGROUND:Central veins may be a distinguishing feature of MS lesions. FLAIR*, a combined contrast derived from clinical MRI scans, has not been studied as a clinical tool for diagnosing MS. METHODS:Two experienced MS neurologists evaluated 87 scan pairs (T2-FLAIR/FLAIR*), separately and side-by-side, from 68 MS cases, 8 healthy volunteers, and 11 individuals with other neurological diseases. Raters judged cases based on experience, published criteria, and a visual assessment of the "40% rule," whereby MS is favored if >40% of lesions demonstrate a central vein. Diagnostic accuracy was determined with area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), and inter-rater reliability was assessed with Cohen's kappa (?). RESULTS:Diagnostic accuracy was high: rater 1, AUC 0.94 (95% confidence interval: 0.89, 0.97) for T2-FLAIR, 0.95 (0.92, 0.98) for FLAIR*; rater 2, 0.94 (0.90, 0.98) and 0.90 (0.85, 0.95). AUC improved when images were considered together: rater 1, 0.99 (0.98, 1.00); rater 2, 0.98 (0.96, 0.99). Inter-rater agreement was substantial for T2-FLAIR (??=?0.68) and FLAIR* (??=?0.74), despite low agreement on the 40% rule (??=?0.47) ([Formula: see text] in all cases). CONCLUSIONS:Joint clinical evaluation of T2-FLAIR and FLAIR* images modestly improves diagnostic accuracy for MS and does not require counting lesions with central veins.
Project description:BACKGROUND:There is a need for a brain volume measure applicable to the clinical routine scans. Nearly every multiple sclerosis (MS) protocol includes low-resolution 2D T2-FLAIR imaging. OBJECTIVES:To develop and validate cross-sectional and longitudinal brain atrophy measures on clinical-quality T2-FLAIR images in MS patients. METHODS:A real-world dataset from 109 MS patients from 62 MRI scanners was used to develop a lateral ventricular volume (LVV) algorithm with a longitudinal Jacobian-based extension, called NeuroSTREAM. Gold-standard LVV was calculated on high-resolution T1 1 mm, while NeuroSTREAM LVV was obtained on low-resolution T2-FLAIR 3 mm thick images. Scan-rescan reliability was assessed in 5 subjects. The variability of LVV measurement at different field strengths was tested in 76 healthy controls and 125 MS patients who obtained both 1.5T and 3T scans in 72 hours. Clinical validation of algorithm was performed in 176 MS patients who obtained serial yearly MRI 1.5T scans for 10 years. RESULTS:Correlation between gold-standard high-resolution T1 LVV and low-resolution T2-FLAIR LVV was r = 0.99, p < 0.001 and the scan-rescan coefficient of variation was 0.84%. Correlation between low-resolution T2-FLAIR LVV on 1.5T and 3T was r = 0.99, p < 0.001 and the scan-rescan coefficient of variation was 2.69% cross-sectionally and 2.08% via Jacobian integration. NeuroSTREAM showed comparable effect size (d = 0.39-0.71) in separating MS patients with and without confirmed disability progression, compared to SIENA and VIENA. CONCLUSIONS:Brain atrophy measurement on clinical quality T2-FLAIR scans is feasible, accurate, reliable, and relates to clinical outcomes.
Project description:The diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) presently relies on radiographic assessments of imperfect specificity. Recent data using T2* methodology for the detection of the "central vessel sign" (CVS) in MS lesions suggests this novel MRI technique may distinguish MS from other disorders. Our aim was to determine if evaluation for CVS on 3T FLAIR* MRI differentiates MS from migraine.Patients with MS or migraine and a prior brain MRI demonstrating at least two hyperintense lesions ≥3 mm were recruited. Exclusion criteria included any additional comorbidity known to cause brain MRI abnormalities. 3T MRI was performed in each participant with administration of gadopentetate dimeglumine, and FLAIR* images were generated in postprocessing. The total number of discrete ovoid lesions ≥3 mm were counted on FLAIR, per participant, and subsequently evaluated for presence of CVS on FLAIR*. An exploratory method evaluating for CVS in a maximum of 12 lesions per subject was also completed.Ten participants with MS and 10 with migraine completed the study. The median percentage (quartiles) of lesions in MS participants with CVS was 84 (79, 94) compared to 22 (15, 54) in migraine (P = 0.008). In a subanalysis by brain region, in the subcortical and deep white matter, the median percentage (quartiles) of lesions in MS participants with CVS was 88 (81, 100) compared to 19 (11, 54) in migraine (P = 0.004). This difference was not identified in juxtacortical, periventricular, or infratentorial regions.Identification of CVS using FLAIR* on 3T MRI helps differentiate MS from migraine, particularly in the subcortical and deep white matter.