Imaging Spinal Cord Damage in Multiple Sclerosis

Authors

  • M. A. Rocca MD,

    1. Neuroimaging Research Unit, Scientific Institute and University Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan, Italy
    2. Department of Neurology, Scientific Institute and University Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan, Italy
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  • S. J. Hickman MRCP,

    1. NMR Research Unit, Department of Neuroinflammation, Institute of Neurology, University College London, Queen Square, London, UK
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  • L. Bö MD,

    1. Department of Pathology, MS Center for Research and Treatment, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and National Competence Center for MS, Department of Neurology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.
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  • F. Agosta MD,

    1. Neuroimaging Research Unit, Scientific Institute and University Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan, Italy
    2. Department of Neurology, Scientific Institute and University Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan, Italy
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  • D. H. Miller FRCP,

    1. NMR Research Unit, Department of Neuroinflammation, Institute of Neurology, University College London, Queen Square, London, UK
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  • G. Comi MD,

    1. Department of Neurology, Scientific Institute and University Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan, Italy
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  • M. Filippi MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Neuroimaging Research Unit, Scientific Institute and University Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan, Italy
    2. Department of Neurology, Scientific Institute and University Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan, Italy
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Address correspondence to Dr Massimo Filippi, Neuroimaging Research Unit, Department of Neurology, Scientific Institute and University Ospedale San Raffaele, via Olgettina 60, 20132 Milan, Italy. E-mail: m.filippi@hsr.it.

ABSTRACT

During the past 2 decades, the considerable improvement of magnetic resonance (MR) technology and the development of new MR strategies capable of providing an in vivo overall assessment of multiple sclerosis (MS) pathology have allowed us to obtain important novel pieces of information on disease evolution in the brain. However, despite this, the correlation between brain MR imaging metrics and clinical disability are still suboptimal. A reason for this discrepancy might be the involvement of clinically eloquent structures, such as the spinal cord, which owing to technical challenges have not been extensively studied using MR imaging until very recently. An objective and accurate estimate of the presence and extent of spinal cord damage might indeed contribute to increasing the strength of the correlations between clinical and MRI metrics. This review summarizes the main results obtained from the application of conventional and modern MR-based techniques for the evaluation of spinal cord damage in MS.

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