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1.  Corpus callosum involvement is a consistent feature of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 
Neurology  2010;75(18):1645-1652.
While the hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is corticospinal tract in combination with lower motor neuron degeneration, the clinical involvement of both compartments is characteristically variable and the site of onset debated. We sought to establish whether there is a consistent signature of cerebral white matter abnormalities in heterogeneous ALS cases.
In this observational study, diffusion tensor imaging was applied in a whole-brain analysis of 24 heterogeneous patients with ALS and well-matched healthy controls. Tract-based spatial statistics were used, with optimized voxel-based morphometry of T1 images to determine any associated gray matter involvement.
A consistent reduction in fractional anisotropy was demonstrated in the corpus callosum of the ALS group, extending rostrally and bilaterally to the region of the primary motor cortices, independent of the degree of clinical upper motor neuron involvement. Matched regional radial diffusivity increase supported the concept of anterograde degeneration of callosal fibers observed pathologically. Gray matter reductions were observed bilaterally in primary motor and supplementary motor regions, and also in the anterior cingulate and temporal lobe regions. A post hoc group comparison model incorporating significant values for fractional anisotropy, radial diffusivity, and gray matter was 92% sensitive, 88% specific, with an accuracy of 90%.
Callosal involvement is a consistent feature of ALS, independent of clinical upper motor neuron involvement, and may reflect independent bilateral cortical involvement or interhemispheric spread of pathology. The predominantly rostral corticospinal tract involvement further supports the concept of independent cortical degeneration even in those patients with ALS with predominantly lower motor neuron involvement clinically.
= amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
= revised Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale;
= corpus callosum;
= corticospinal tract;
= disease duration;
= diffusion tensor imaging;
= fractional anisotropy;
= frontotemporal dementia;
= gray matter;
= lower motor neuron;
= mean diffusivity;
= primary lateral sclerosis;
= progressive muscular atrophy;
= radial diffusivity;
= upper motor neuron;
= white matter.
PMCID: PMC2974368  PMID: 21041787
2.  Primary Lateral Sclerosis as Progressive Supranuclear Palsy: Diagnosis by Diffusion Tensor Imaging 
Movement Disorders  2012;27(7):903-906.
Evaluating the integrity of white matter tracts with diffusion tensor imaging may differentiate primary lateral sclerosis from progressive supranuclear palsy.
Thirty-three prospectively recruited subjects had standardized evaluations and diffusion tensor imaging: 3 with primary lateral sclerosis who presented with features suggestive of progressive supranuclear palsy, 10 with probable or definite progressive supranuclear palsy, and 20 matched controls. We compared fractional anisotropy of the corticospinal tract, superior cerebellar peduncle and body of the corpus callosum between groups.
Both the primary lateral sclerosis and progressive supranuclear palsy subjects showed reduced fractional anisotropy in superior cerebellar peduncles and body of the corpus callosum compared to controls, but only primary lateral sclerosis subjects showed reductions in the corticospinal tracts. A ratio of corticospinal tract/superior cerebellar peduncle best distinguished the disorders (p<0.02).
The corticospinal tract/superior cerebellar peduncle ratio is a marker to differentiate primary lateral sclerosis from progressive supranuclear palsy.
PMCID: PMC3383380  PMID: 22517038
Progressive supranuclear palsy; primary lateral sclerosis; motor neuron disease; diffusion tensor imaging
3.  Longitudinal diffusion tensor imaging in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 
BMC Neuroscience  2012;13:141.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder, caused by progressive loss of motor neurons. Changes are widespread in the subcortical white matter in ALS. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) detects pathological changes in white matter fibres in vivo, based on alterations in the degree (diffusivity, ADC) and directedness (fractional anisotropy, FA) of proton movement.
24 patients with ALS and 24 age-matched controls received 1.5T DTI. FA and ADC were analyzed using statistical parametric mapping. In 15 of the 24 ALS patients, a second DTI was obtained after 6 months.
Decreased FA in the corticospinal tract (CST) and frontal areas confirm existing results. With a direct comparison of baseline and follow-up dataset, the progression of upper motor neuron degeneration, reflected in FA decrease, could be captured along the CST and in frontal areas. The involvement of cerebellum in the pathology of ALS, as suspected from functional MRI studies, could be confirmed by a reduced FA (culmen, declive). These structural changes correlated well with disease duration, ALSFRS-R, and physical and executive functions.
DTI detects changes that are regarded as prominent features of ALS and thus, shows promise in its function as a biomarker. Using the technique herein, we could demonstrate DTI changes at follow-up which correlated well with clinical progression.
PMCID: PMC3531302  PMID: 23134591
Cerebellum; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Diffusion tensor imaging; Follow-up
4.  Motor Network Degeneration in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Structural and Functional Connectivity Study 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13664.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterised by motor neuron degeneration. How this disease affects the central motor network is largely unknown. Here, we combined for the first time structural and functional imaging measures on the motor network in patients with ALS and healthy controls.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Structural measures included whole brain cortical thickness and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of crucial motor tracts. These structural measures were combined with functional connectivity analysis of the motor network based on resting state fMRI. Focal cortical thinning was observed in the primary motor area in patients with ALS compared to controls and was found to correlate with disease progression. DTI revealed reduced FA values in the corpus callosum and in the rostral part of the corticospinal tract. Overall functional organisation of the motor network was unchanged in patients with ALS compared to healthy controls, however the level of functional connectedness was significantly correlated with disease progression rate. Patients with increased connectedness appear to have a more progressive disease course.
We demonstrate structural motor network deterioration in ALS with preserved functional connectivity measures. The positive correlation between functional connectedness of the motor network and disease progression rate could suggest spread of disease along functional connections of the motor network.
PMCID: PMC2965124  PMID: 21060689
Magnetic resonance imaging  1998;16(10):1163-1169.
The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that magnetization transfer ratios (MTR) are decreased in the corticospinal tract of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); to determine if T2 is increased in corticospinal tract or reduced in motor cortex in ALS; to determine if corticospinal tract MTR correlates with a clinical measure of motor neuron function in ALS. Ten ALS patients and 17 age-matched controls were studied. Double spin echo MRI and 3D gradient echo MRI with and without off-resonance saturation were acquired on each subject. 3D data sets were coregistered and resliced to match the spin echo data set. MTR was calculated for corticospinal and non-corticospinal tract white matter. T2 was calculated for corticospinal and non-corticospinal tract white matter, motor cortex and non-motor cortex. MTR was reduced by 2.6% (p < .02) in corticospinal, but not in non-corticospinal, tract white matter in ALS. There was no difference in T2 in any brain region. The correlation between a clinical measure of motor neuron function and corticospinal tract MTR was statistically significant. These findings are consistent with the known pathology in ALS and suggest that MTR is more sensitive than T2 for detecting involvement of the corticospinal tract. Quantitative MTR of the corticospinal tract may be a useful, objective marker of upper motor neuron pathology in ALS.
PMCID: PMC2735261  PMID: 9858272
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Magnetization transfer ratio; T2 relaxation; Corticospinal tract; Motor cortex
6.  Prenatal and Neonatal Brain Structure and White Matter Maturation in Children at High Risk for Schizophrenia 
The American journal of psychiatry  2010;167(9):1083-1091.
Schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with abnormalities of brain structure and white matter, although little is known about when these abnormalities arise. This study was conducted to identify structural brain abnormalities in the prenatal and neonatal periods associated with genetic risk for schizophrenia.
Prenatal ultrasound scans and neonatal structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging were prospectively obtained in the offspring of mothers with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (N=26) and matched comparison mothers without psychiatric illness (N=26). Comparisons were made for prenatal lateral ventricle width and head circumference, for neonatal intracranial, CSF, gray matter, white matter, and lateral ventricle volumes, and for neonatal diffusion properties of the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum and corticospinal tracts.
Relative to the matched comparison subjects, the offspring of mothers with schizophrenia did not differ in prenatal lateral ventricle width or head circumference. Overall, the high-risk neonates had nonsignificantly larger intracranial, CSF, and lateral ventricle volumes. Subgroup analysis revealed that male high-risk infants had significantly larger intracranial, CSF, total gray matter, and lateral ventricle volumes; the female high-risk neonates were similar to the female comparison subjects. There were no group differences in white matter diffusion tensor properties.
Male neonates at genetic risk for schizophrenia had several larger than normal brain volumes, while females did not. To the authors' knowledge, this study provides the first evidence, in the context of its limitations, that early neonatal brain development may be abnormal in males at genetic risk for schizophrenia.
PMCID: PMC3105376  PMID: 20516153
7.  The risk to relatives of patients with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 
Brain  2011;134(12):3451-3454.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease of motor neurons with a median survival of 2 years. Most patients have no family history of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but current understanding of such diseases suggests there should be an increased risk to relatives. Furthermore, it is a common question to be asked by patients and relatives in clinic. We therefore set out to determine the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to first degree relatives of patients with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis attending a specialist clinic. Case records of patients with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis seen at a tertiary referral centre over a 16-year period were reviewed, and pedigree structures extracted. All individuals who had originally presented with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but who subsequently had an affected first degree relative, were identified. Calculations were age-adjusted using clinic population demographics. Probands (n = 1502), full siblings (n = 1622) and full offspring (n = 1545) were identified. Eight of the siblings and 18 offspring had developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The unadjusted risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis over the observation period was 0.5% for siblings and 1.0% for offspring. Age information was available for 476 siblings and 824 offspring. For this subset, the crude incidence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was 0.11% per year (0.05–0.21%) in siblings and 0.11% per year (0.06–0.19%) in offspring, and the clinic age-adjusted incidence rate was 0.12% per year (0.04–0.21%) in siblings. By age 85, siblings were found to have an 8-fold increased risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in comparison to the background population. In practice, this means the risk of remaining unaffected by age 85 dropped from 99.7% to 97.6%. Relatives of people with sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis have a small but definite increased risk of being affected.
PMCID: PMC3235555  PMID: 21933809
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; sporadic case; family history; risk to relatives
8.  Comprehensive Evaluation of Corticospinal Tract Metabolites in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Using Whole-Brain 1H MR Spectroscopy 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35607.
Changes in the distribution of the proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) observed metabolites N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), total-choline (Cho), and total-creatine (Cre) in the entire intracranial corticospinal tract (CST) including the primary motor cortex were evaluated in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The study included 38 sporadic definite-ALS subjects and 70 age-matched control subjects. All received whole-brain MR imaging and spectroscopic imaging scans at 3T and clinical neurological assessments including percentage maximum forced vital capacity (FVC) and upper motor neuron (UMN) function. Differences in each individual metabolite and its ratio distributions were evaluated in the entire intracranial CST and in five segments along the length of the CST (at the levels of precentral gyrus (PCG), centrum semiovale (CS), corona radiata (CR), posterior limb of internal capsule (PLIC) and cerebral peduncle (CP)). Major findings included significantly decreased NAA and increased Cho and Cho/NAA in the entire intracranial CST, with the largest differences for Cho/NAA in all the groups. Significant correlations between Cho/NAA in the entire intracranial CST and the right finger tap rate were noted. Of the ten bilateral CST segments, significantly decreased NAA in 4 segments, increased Cho in 5 segments and increased Cho/NAA in all the segments were found. Significant left versus right CST asymmetries were found only in ALS for Cho/NAA in the CS. Among the significant correlations found between Cho/NAA and the clinical assessments included the left-PCG versus FVC and right finger tap rate, left -CR versus FVC and right finger tap rate, and left PLIC versus FVC and right foot tap rate. These results demonstrate that a significant and bilaterally asymmetric alteration of metabolites occurs along the length of the entire intracranial CST in ALS, and the MRS metrics in the segments correlate with measures of disease severity and UMN function.
PMCID: PMC3335096  PMID: 22539984
9.  Diffusion Tensor MRI of the Corpus Callosum in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis 
To determine if decline in corpus callosum (CC) white matter integrity in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is localized to motor-related areas.
Materials and Methods
Twenty-one ALS patients and 21 controls participated. Diffusion tensor images (DTI) were acquired using 3 Tesla (T) MRI. Tract-based spatial statistics were used to examine whole-brain white matter damage. A segmentation schema was used to define CC volumes-of-interest (VOI). Fractional anisotropy (FA) and radial- and axial-diffusivity (RD, AD) were extracted from VOIs and compared between groups. DTI measurements in motor-related Area III were tested for correlation with symptoms and disease duration.
Extracted FA values from CC VOIs were reduced in ALS patients (P≤0.0001), particularly in Areas II and III (P≤0.01). Reduced FA in Area III correlated with disease symptomology (P≤0.05) and duration (P≤0.02). Between-group whole-brain comparisons (P≤0.05, corrected) showed reduced FA and increased RD throughout white matter regions including the CC, corona radiata, and internal capsule. AD was increased in the left corona radiata and internal and external capsules.
FA in motor-related regions of the CC is more affected than other CC areas in ALS patients. Microstructural pathology of transcallosal fiber tracts may represent a future component of an imaging biomarker for ALS.
PMCID: PMC3888481  PMID: 23843179
DTI; corpus callosum; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
10.  Diffusion tensor imaging and voxel based morphometry study in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: relationships with motor disability 
The aim of this study was to investigate the extent of cortical and subcortical lesions in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) using, in combination, voxel based diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and voxel based morphometry (VBM). We included 15 patients with definite or probable ALS and 25 healthy volunteers. Patients were assessed using the revised ALS Functional Rating Scale (ALSFRS‐R). In patients, reduced fractional anisotropy was found in bilateral corticospinal tracts, the left insula/ventrolateral premotor cortex, the right parietal cortex and the thalamus, which correlated with the ALSFRS‐R. Increased mean diffusivity (MD) was found bilaterally in the motor cortex, the ventrolateral premotor cortex/insula, the hippocampal formations and the right superior temporal gyrus, which did not correlate with the ALSFRS‐R. VBM analysis showed no changes in white matter but widespread volume decreases in grey matter in several regions exhibiting MD abnormalities. In ALS patients, our results show that subcortical lesions extend beyond the corticospinal tract and are clinically relevant.
PMCID: PMC2117724  PMID: 17635981
11.  Structural imaging differences and longitudinal changes in primary lateral sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis☆ 
NeuroImage : Clinical  2012;2:151-160.
Magnetic resonance imaging measures have been proposed as objective markers to study upper motor neuron loss in motor neuron disorders. Cross-sectional studies have identified imaging differences between groups of healthy controls and patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) that correlate with disease severity, but it is not known whether imaging measures change as disease progresses. Additionally, whether imaging measures change in a similar fashion with disease progression in PLS and ALS is unclear. To address these questions, clinical and imaging evaluations were first carried out in a prospective cross-sectional study of 23 ALS and 22 PLS patients with similar motor impairment and 19 age-matched healthy controls. Clinical evaluations consisted of a neurological examination, the ALS Functional rating scale-revised, and measures of finger tapping, gait, and timed speech. Age and ALSFRS score were not different, but PLS patients had longer duration of symptoms. Imaging measures examined were cortical thickness, regional brain volumes, and diffusion tensor imaging of the corticospinal tract and callosum. Imaging measures that differed from controls in a cross-sectional vertex-wise analysis were used as regions of interest for longitudinal analysis, which was carried out in 9 of the ALS patients (interval 1.26 ± 0.72 years) and 12 PLS patients (interval 2.08 ± 0.93 years). In the cross-sectional study both groups had areas of cortical thinning, which was more extensive in motor regions in PLS patients. At follow-up, clinical measures declined more in ALS than PLS patients. Cortical thinning and grey matter volume loss of the precentral gyri progressed over the follow-up interval. Fractional anisotropy of the corticospinal tracts remained stable, but the cross-sectional area declined in ALS patients. Changes in clinical measures correlated with changes in precentral cortical thickness and grey matter volume. The rate of cortical thinning was greater in ALS patients with shorter disease durations, suggesting that thickness decreases in a non-linear fashion. Thus, cortical thickness changes are a potential imaging marker for disease progression in individual patients, but the magnitude of change likely depends on disease duration and progression rate. Differences between PLS and ALS patients in the magnitude of thinning in cross-sectional studies are likely to reflect longer disease duration. We conclude that there is an evolution of structural imaging changes with disease progression in motor neuron disorders. Some changes, such as diffusion properties of the corticospinal tract, occur early while cortical thinning and volume loss occur later.
► In a cross-sectional study, ALS and PLS patients had thinning of the motor cortex compared to age-matched controls ► Progressive thinning and atrophy of the precentral gyrus were correlated with clinical progression over a 1- or 2-year longitudinal follow-up ► The rate of cortical thinning was faster in ALS patients with a shorter disease duration ► Fractional anisotropy of corticospinal tracts, though reduced at baseline in ALS and PLS patients remained stable over longitudinal follow-up ► Imaging changes evolve with disease progression in motor neuron disorders ► Changes in white matter diffusion properties occur early, while cortical thinning and atrophy occur later and over a longer time frame
PMCID: PMC3778247  PMID: 24179768
ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; ALSFRS-R, ALS functional rating scale, revised; CC, corpus callosum; CST, corticospinal tract; DTI, diffusion tensor imaging; FA, fractional anisotropy; MD, mean diffusivity; MRI, magnetic resonance imaging; PLS, primary lateral sclerosis; UMN, upper motor neuron; Cortical thickness; Longitudinal studies; Motor neuron disease; Diffusion tensor imaging; FreeSurfer
12.  Voxel-based diffusion tensor imaging detects pyramidal tract degeneration in primary lateral sclerosis 
The British Journal of Radiology  2011;84(997):78-80.
Primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) is a progressive degenerative disorder affecting upper motor neurons and requires a clinical diagnosis. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a quantitative method for assessing white matter fibre integrity. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the involvement of upper motor neurons by using DTI in PLS.
A patient with PLS was compared with eight age-matched controls. Differences in fractional anisotropy (FA) index were assessed using DTI on a voxel-by-voxel basis.
Decreased FA was observed in the proximal part of the pyramidal tract bilaterally, which indicated degeneration of the pyramidal cells.
Voxel-based DTI could be used as an objective marker for detecting upper motor neuron degeneration in PLS.
PMCID: PMC3473804  PMID: 21172968
13.  Diffusion Tensor Imaging Evaluation of Corticospinal Tract Hyperintensity in Upper Motor Neuron-Predominant ALS Patients 
Journal of Aging Research  2011;2011:481745.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients with predominant upper motor neuron (UMN) signs occasionally have hyperintensity of corticospinal tract (CST) on T2- and proton-density-(PD-) weighted brain images. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was used to assess whether diffusion parameters along intracranial CST differ in presence or absence of hyperintensity and correspond to UMN dysfunction. DTI brain scans were acquired in 47 UMN-predominant ALS patients with (n = 21) or without (n = 26) CST hyperintensity and in 10 control subjects. Fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD) were measured in four regions of interests (ROIs) along CST. Abnormalities (P < 0.05) were observed in FA, AD, or RD in CST primarily at internal capsule (IC) level in ALS patients, especially those with CST hyperintensity. Clinical measures corresponded well with DTI changes at IC level. The IC abnormalities suggest a prominent axonopathy in UMN-predominant ALS and that tissue changes underlying CST hyperintensity have specific DTI changes, suggestive of unique axonal pathology.
PMCID: PMC3205652  PMID: 22132329
14.  Differential corticospinal tract degeneration in homozygous ‘D90A’ SOD-1 ALS and sporadic ALS 
The homogeneous genotype and stereotyped phenotype of a unique familial form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (patients homozygous for aspartate-to-alanine mutations in codon 90 (homD90A) superoxide dismutase 1) provides an ideal model for studying genotype/phenotype interactions and pathological features compared with heterogeneous apparently sporadic ALS. The authors aimed to use diffusion tensor tractography to quantify and compare changes in the intracerebral corticospinal tracts of patients with both forms of ALS, building on previous work using whole-brain voxelwise group analysis.
21 sporadic ALS patients, seven homD90A patients and 20 healthy controls underwent 1.5 T diffusion tensor MRI. Patients were assessed using ‘upper motor neuron burden,’ El Escorial and ALSFR-R scales. The intracranial corticospinal tract was assessed using diffusion tensor tractography measures of fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity, and radial and axial diffusivity obtained from its entire length.
Corticospinal tract FA was reduced in sporadic ALS patients compared with both homD90A ALS patients and controls. The diffusion measures in sporadic ALS patients were consistent with anterograde (Wallerian) degeneration of the corticospinal tracts. In sporadic ALS, corticospinal tract FA was related to clinical measures. Despite a similar degree of clinical upper motor neuron dysfunction and disability in homD90A ALS patients compared with sporadic ALS, there were no abnormalities in corticospinal tract diffusion measures compared with controls.
Diffusion tensor tractography has shown axonal degeneration within the intracerebral portion of the corticospinal tract in sporadic ALS patients, but not those with a homogeneous form of familial ALS. This suggests significant genotypic influences on the phenotype of ALS and may provide clues to slower progression of disease in homD90A patients.
PMCID: PMC3134064  PMID: 21515558
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; diffusion tensor tractography; corticospinal tract; fractional anisotropy; mean diffusivityALSimage analysisMRI
15.  Imaging Findings Associated with Cognitive Performance in Primary Lateral Sclerosis and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis 
Executive dysfunction occurs in many patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but it has not been well studied in primary lateral sclerosis (PLS). The aims of this study were to (1) compare cognitive function in PLS to that in ALS patients, (2) explore the relationship between performance on specific cognitive tests and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) metrics of white matter tracts and gray matter volumes, and (3) compare DTI metrics in patients with and without cognitive and behavioral changes.
The Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS), the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale (DRS-2), and other behavior and mood scales were administered to 25 ALS patients and 25 PLS patients. Seventeen of the PLS patients, 13 of the ALS patients, and 17 healthy controls underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and DTI. Atlas-based analysis using MRI Studio software was used to measure fractional anisotropy, and axial and radial diffusivity of selected white matter tracts. Voxel-based morphometry was used to assess gray matter volumes. The relationship between diffusion properties of selected association and commissural white matter and performance on executive function and memory tests was explored using a linear regression model.
More ALS than PLS patients had abnormal scores on the DRS-2. DRS-2 and D-KEFS scores were related to DTI metrics in several long association tracts and the callosum. Reduced gray matter volumes in motor and perirolandic areas were not associated with cognitive scores.
The changes in diffusion metrics of white matter long association tracts suggest that the loss of integrity of the networks connecting fronto-temporal areas to parietal and occipital areas contributes to cognitive impairment.
PMCID: PMC3776403  PMID: 24052798
Motor neuron disease; Executive function; Diffusion tensor imaging
16.  High signal intensity on T1 weighted MRI of the anterolateral column of the spinal cord in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. 
OBJECTIVE: To investigate MRI abnormalities in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. METHODS: Fourteen patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis underwent MRI of the head and spinal cord using T1 and T2 weighted images. Forty age matched controls (29 with other neurological diseases, 11 with non-neurological diseases) underwent MRI of the cervical spinal cord using T1 and T2 weighted images. RESULTS: In all the control patients, the signal intensity of the posterior column was equal or slightly hypointense compared with the anterolateral column of the cervical spinal cord on T1 weighted images. However, eight of 14 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis showed pronounced high signal intensity in the anterolateral column of the spinal cord on T1 weighted MRI, which also disclosed high signal intensity of the intracranial corticospinal tract in two of the 14 patients. T2 weighted MRI demonstrated high signal intensity of the lateral corticospinal tract of the spinal cord in two, high signal intensity of the intracranial corticospinal tract in five, and low signal intensity of the motor cortex in six of the 14 patients. Two of the 14 patients showed no abnormal findings on MRI. CONCLUSIONS: High signal intensity of the anterolateral column of the spinal cord of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a new imaging abnormality and may be useful for the diagnosis of this disease.
PMCID: PMC486702  PMID: 9010407
17.  Clinical outcomes and serum uric acid levels in elderly patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis aged ≥ 70 years 
Background: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a slowly progressive fetal neurodegenerative disease in which clinical phenotype and nutritional status are considered prognostic factors. Advanced age has also been reported to carry a poor prognosis in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The elderly population is expected to increase in Japan, as well as in other countries in the near future. Whether late-onset amyotrophic lateral sclerosis affects the average lifespan or survival of patients and the nutritional status was related to survival remains an open question. Methods: We studied the survival of elderly 34 patients with clinically definite amyotrophic lateral sclerosis aged ≥ 70 years and investigated serum triglycerides, cholesterol, LDL/HDL ratio, and glucose. Serum uric acid was examined. Results: The average age at respiratory disorders or death as a whole was 77.5 ± 4.3 years. Survival did not differ significantly between different clinical phenotypes or between patients with and those without riluzole usage. Survival differed significantly between patients with and those without other complications. No biochemical parameter is correlated with outcome in this series, including elevated triglyceride or cholesterol levels and an increased LDL/HDL ratio. The survival correlated with the serum uric acid level (r = 0.407, p = 0.017). Conclusions: The onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at ≥ 70 years of age might not be the key determinant of survival in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3703126  PMID: 23844338
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; elderly amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; survival; nutritional status; uric acid
18.  Conduction deficits of callosal fibres in early multiple sclerosis 
OBJECTIVE—To study the diagnostic usefulness of transcallosal inhibition (TI) elicited by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in detecting central conduction deficits in early multiple sclerosis. Corticospinally mediated excitatory responses evoked by TMS are accepted as a sensitive diagnostic tool in multiple sclerosis. Recently, TI evoked by TMS has been introduced as a new paradigm to test the function of callosal fibres interconnecting both hand associated motor cortices.
METHODS—Focal TMS of the motor cortex was performed in 50 patients with early relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Corticospinally mediated (central motor latencies, amplitudes) and transcallosally mediated (onset latency and duration of TI) stimulation effects were investigated.
RESULTS—TMS disclosed abnormalities of corticospinally mediated responses in 62% and of TI in 80% of the patients.
CONCLUSION—The assessment of TI allows the discovery of lesions within the periventricular white matter that were not accessible by neurophysiological techniques before. This new paradigm increases the sensitivity of TMS with which to detect central conduction deficits in early multiple sclerosis.

PMCID: PMC1736914  PMID: 10766896
19.  A patient with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and atypical clinical and electrodiagnostic features: a case report 
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a rapidly progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disorder for which there is no effective treatment. The diagnosis is dependent on the clinical presentation and consistent electrodiagnostic studies. Typically, there is a combination of upper and lower motor neuron signs as well as electrodiagnostic studies indicative of diffuse motor axonal injury. The presentation of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, however, may be variable. At the same time, the diagnosis is essential for patient prognosis and management. It is therefore important to appreciate the range of possible presentations of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Case presentation
We present the case of a 57-year-old Caucasian man with pathological findings on postmortem examination consistent with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis but atypical clinical and electrodiagnostic features. He died after a rapid course of progressive weakness. The patient did not respond to immunosuppressive therapy.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis should be considered in patients with a rapidly progressive, unexplained neuropathic process. This should be true even if there are atypical clinical and electrodiagnostic findings. Absence of response to therapy and the development of upper motor neuron signs should reinforce the possibility that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis may be present. Since amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a fatal illness, however, the possibility of this disease in patients with atypical clinical features should not diminish the need for a thorough diagnostic evaluation and treatment trials.
PMCID: PMC3240922  PMID: 22047468
20.  Neuroimaging to Investigate Multisystem Involvement and Provide Biomarkers in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:467560.
Neuroimaging allows investigating the extent of neurological systems degeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Advanced MRI methods can detect changes related to the degeneration of upper motor neurons but have also demonstrated the participation of other systems such as the sensory system or basal ganglia, demonstrating in vivo that ALS is a multisystem disorder. Structural and functional imaging also allows studying dysfunction of brain areas associated with cognitive signs. From a biomarker perspective, numerous studies using diffusion tensor imaging showed a decrease of fractional anisotropy in the intracranial portion of the corticospinal tract but its diagnostic value at the individual level remains limited. A multiparametric approach will be required to use MRI in the diagnostic workup of ALS. A promising avenue is the new methodological developments of spinal cord imaging that has the advantage to investigate the two motor system components that are involved in ALS, that is, the lower and upper motor neuron. For all neuroimaging modalities, due to the intrinsic heterogeneity of ALS, larger pooled banks of images with standardized image acquisition and analysis procedures are needed. In this paper, we will review the main findings obtained with MRI, PET, SPECT, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in ALS.
PMCID: PMC4052676  PMID: 24949452
21.  Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterised by progressive muscular paralysis reflecting degeneration of motor neurones in the primary motor cortex, corticospinal tracts, brainstem and spinal cord. Incidence (average 1.89 per 100,000/year) and prevalence (average 5.2 per100,000) are relatively uniform in Western countries, although foci of higher frequency occur in the Western Pacific. The mean age of onset for sporadic ALS is about 60 years. Overall, there is a slight male prevalence (M:F ratio~1.5:1). Approximately two thirds of patients with typical ALS have a spinal form of the disease (limb onset) and present with symptoms related to focal muscle weakness and wasting, where the symptoms may start either distally or proximally in the upper and lower limbs. Gradually, spasticity may develop in the weakened atrophic limbs, affecting manual dexterity and gait. Patients with bulbar onset ALS usually present with dysarthria and dysphagia for solid or liquids, and limbs symptoms can develop almost simultaneously with bulbar symptoms, and in the vast majority of cases will occur within 1–2 years. Paralysis is progressive and leads to death due to respiratory failure within 2–3 years for bulbar onset cases and 3–5 years for limb onset ALS cases. Most ALS cases are sporadic but 5–10% of cases are familial, and of these 20% have a mutation of the SOD1 gene and about 2–5% have mutations of the TARDBP (TDP-43) gene. Two percent of apparently sporadic patients have SOD1 mutations, and TARDBP mutations also occur in sporadic cases. The diagnosis is based on clinical history, examination, electromyography, and exclusion of 'ALS-mimics' (e.g. cervical spondylotic myelopathies, multifocal motor neuropathy, Kennedy's disease) by appropriate investigations. The pathological hallmarks comprise loss of motor neurones with intraneuronal ubiquitin-immunoreactive inclusions in upper motor neurones and TDP-43 immunoreactive inclusions in degenerating lower motor neurones. Signs of upper motor neurone and lower motor neurone damage not explained by any other disease process are suggestive of ALS. The management of ALS is supportive, palliative, and multidisciplinary. Non-invasive ventilation prolongs survival and improves quality of life. Riluzole is the only drug that has been shown to extend survival.
PMCID: PMC2656493  PMID: 19192301
22.  Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: one or multiple causes? 
Neurology International  2011;3(1):e4.
The Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common form of motor neuron disease in the adulthood, and it is characterized by rapid and progressive compromise of the upper and lower motor neurons. The majority of the cases of ALS are classified as sporadic and, until now, a specific cause for these cases still is unknown. To present the different hypotheses on the etiology of ALS. It was carried out a search in the databases: Bireme, Scielo and Pubmed, in the period of 1987 to 2011, using the following keywords: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, motor neuron disease, etiology, causes and epidemiology and its similar in Portuguese and Spanish. It did not have consensus as regards the etiology of ALS. Researches demonstrates evidences as regards intoxication by heavy metals, environmental and occupational causes, genetic mutations (superoxide dismutase 1), certain viral infections and the accomplishment of vigorous physical activity for the development of the disease. There is still no consensus regarding the involved factors in the etiology of ALS. In this way, new research about these etiologies are necessary, for a better approach of the patients, promoting preventive programs for the disease and improving the quality of life of the patients.
PMCID: PMC3141115  PMID: 21785676
motor neuron disease; neuromuscular Diseases; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; etiology; hypothesis; review.
23.  Diffusion Features of White Matter in Tuberous Sclerosis With Tractography 
Pediatric neurology  2010;42(2):101-106.
Normal-appearing white matter has been shown via diffusion tensor imaging to be affected in tuberous sclerosis complex. Under the hypothesis that some systems might be differentially affected, including the visual pathways and systems of social cognition, diffusion properties of various regions of white matter were compared. For 10 patients and 6 age-matched control subjects, 3 T magnetic resonance imaging was assessed using diffusion tensor imaging obtained in 35 directions. Three-dimensional volumes corresponding to the geniculocalcarine tracts were extracted via tractography, and two-dimensional regions of interest were used to sample other regions. Regression analysis indicated lower fractional anisotropy in the splenium of corpus callosum and geniculocalcarine tracts in tuberous sclerosis complex group, as well as lower axial diffusivity in the internal capsule, superior temporal gyrus, and geniculocalcarine tracts. Mean and radial diffusivity of the splenium of corpus callosum were higher in the tuberous sclerosis complex group. The differences in diffusion properties of white matter between tuberous sclerosis complex patients and control subjects suggest disorganized and structurally compromised axons with poor myelination. The visual and social cognition systems appear to be differentially involved, which might in part explain the behavioral and cognitive characteristics of the tuberous sclerosis complex population.
PMCID: PMC2831465  PMID: 20117745
24.  Diffusion anisotropy of the cervical cord is strictly associated with disability in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease with severe cervical cord damage due to degeneration of the corticospinal tracts and loss of lower motor neurones. Diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DT MRI) allows the measurement of quantities reflecting the size (such as mean diffusivity) and orientation (such as fractional anisotropy) of water‐filled spaces in biological tissues.
Mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy histograms from the cervical cord of patients with ALS were obtained to: (1) quantify the extent of tissue damage in this critical central nervous system region; and (2) investigate the magnitude of the correlation of cervical cord DT MRI metrics with patients' disability and tissue damage along the brain portion of the corticospinal tracts. Cervical cord and brain DT MRI scans were obtained from 28 patients with ALS and 20 age‐matched and sex‐matched controls. Cord mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy histograms were produced and the cord cross‐sectional area was measured. Average mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy along the brain portion of the corticospinal tracts were also measured.
Compared with controls, patients with ALS had significantly lower mean fractional anisotropy (p = 0.002) and cord cross‐sectional area (p<0.001). Mean diffusivity histogram‐derived metrics did not differ between the two groups. A strong correlation was found between mean cord fractional anisotropy and the ALS Functional Rating Score (r = 0.74, p<0.001). Mean cord and brain fractional anisotropy values correlated moderately (r = 0.37, p = 0.05).
Cervical cord DT MRI in patients with ALS allows the extent of cord damage to be graded. The conventional and DT MRI changes found are compatible with the presence of neuroaxonal loss and reactive gliosis, with a heterogeneous distribution of the pathological process between the brain and the cord. The correlation found between cord fractional anisotropy and disability suggests that DT MRI may be a useful adjunctive tool to monitor the evolution of ALS.
PMCID: PMC2117814  PMID: 17030586
25.  No association between DNA repair gene XRCC1 and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 
Neurobiology of Aging  2010;33(5):1015.e25-1015.e26.
Reduced DNA repair capacity may play a role in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) etiology. We examined the association between ALS risk and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the gene x-ray repair complementing defective repair in Chinese hamster cells 1 (XRCC1) utilizing data from a case-control study and two genome-wide association studies (the Study of Irish Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and the NINDS genome-wide study in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Neurologically Normal Controls). Our results did not show any differences in the frequency of XRCC1 gene polymorphisms between ALS patients and controls free of any neurological disease.
Abnormal capacity to repair DNA damage may play a role in the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (Bradley and Krasin, 1982). Neurons, especially motor neurons, are sensitive to DNA damage induced by reactive oxygen species ROS. Defects in the base-excision repair (BER) pathway, which counteracts the effects of ROS-induced DNA damage, may thus play a role in ALS. We examined the association of ALS risk to polymorphisms in a key gene in the BER pathway, x-ray repair complementing defective repair in Chinese hamster cells 1 (XRCC1).
PMCID: PMC3005140  PMID: 20719408
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; DNA repair; XRCC1

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