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Abstract

By using three-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging–based volumetry, we studied atrophy of the caudate nucleus, putamen, brainstem, and cerebellum in patients with idiopathic Parkinson's syndrome (IPS, n = 11), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP, n = 6), and multiple system atrophy with predominant parkinsonism (MSA-P, n = 12) or ataxia (MSA-C, n = 17). Patients were compared with a total of 46 controls, of whom 16 were age matched. Mean striatal, cerebellar, and brainstem volumes were normal in patients with IPS. We found significant reductions in mean striatal and brainstem volumes in patients with MSA-P, MSA-C, and PSP, whereas patients with MSA-C and MSA-P also showed a reduction in cerebellar volume. On an individual basis, volumes of structures in patients with MSA and PSP showed an extensive overlap with the normal range with the exception of brainstem volumes in patients with MSA-C. Therefore, groups could not be discriminated on the basis of individual structure volumetry. Application of stepwise discriminant analysis, however, allowed discrimination of all 12 patients with MSA-P, 15 of 17 patients with MSA-C, and 5 of 6 patients with PSP from the normal and IPS cohorts. However, patients with IPS could not be separated from controls and patients with MSA-P could not be separated from patients with PSP. In conclusion, total intracranial volume–normalized magnetic resonance imaging–based volumetric measurements provide a sensitive marker to discriminate typical and atypical parkinsonism. Ann Neurol 1999;45:65–74