Early Changes in Brain MRI Precede ALS

Presymptomatic changes detectable by MRI that precede onset of neurodegenerative disease have been described for genetic forms of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. However, such changes in ALS patients have not emerged until now. A recent study, led by Michael Benatar and colleagues at the University of Miami in Florida and presented at the AAN 2014 in April, identified changes in a small cohort of ALS patients with SOD1 mutations that occur in brain white matter prior to the onset of motor symptoms. Surprisingly, the changes are visible in MRI diffusion tensor imaging of the right temporal lobe rather than in motor areas. These intriguing results will need further validation in a larger cohort of patients, but if confirmed, could potentially be leveraged for early therapeutic interventions geared towards disease prevention or delay of onset. For more on these promising results, click here.

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