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7-T MRI of the spinal cord can detect lateral corticospinal tract abnormality in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Authors

  • Julien Cohen-Adad PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    2. Department of Electrical Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    • A.A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Wei Zhao PhD,

    1. A.A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA
    2. Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Boris Keil PhD,

    1. A.A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA
    2. Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Eva-Maria Ratai PhD,

    1. A.A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA
    2. Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Christina Triantafyllou PhD,

    1. A.A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA
    2. A.A. Martinos Imaging Center, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Robert Lawson BSc,

    1. A.A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA
    2. Department of Neurology, Neurology Clinical Trials Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Christina Dheel BSc,

    1. A.A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA
    2. Department of Neurology, Neurology Clinical Trials Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Lawrence L. Wald PhD,

    1. A.A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA
    2. Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    3. Harvard–MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Bruce R. Rosen MD, PhD,

    1. A.A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA
    2. Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Merit Cudkowicz MD, MSc,

    1. A.A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA
    2. Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    3. Department of Neurology, Neurology Clinical Trials Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Nazem Atassi MD, MMSc

    1. A.A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA
    2. Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    3. Department of Neurology, Neurology Clinical Trials Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Supported by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (FG 1892A1/1), the National Center for Research Resources (P41-RR14075), a pilot grant from the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center, a fellowship grant from the American Academy of Neurology, and a training grant from the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Correspondence to: J. Cohen-Adad; E-mail: jcohen@polymtl.ca

Abstract

Introduction: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder affecting lower and upper motor neurons. Degeneration of the lateral corticospinal tract (CST) is a key finding in ALS cervical spinal cord autopsies. We hypothesized that in vivo ultra-high-field MRI of the cervical spinal cord can detect abnormality in the CST. Methods: A patient with ALS (disease duration 23 months) and a healthy control were scanned at 7-T MRI using a 19-channel coil. Multi-echo math formula-weighted imaging was performed in the spinal cord, covering C2–C6. Cross-sectional resolution was 0.37 × 0.37 mm2. Results: We detected clear signal hyperintensity in both segments of the lateral CST in the ALS patient, which was significant when compared with the normal control subject (P < 10−7). Conclusion: We believe there are potential benefits of 7-T MRI for increased sensitivity and spatial accuracy in characterizing pathology in the spinal cord. Muscle Nerve 47: 760–762, 2013

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