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J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2001 Apr;16(2):149-64.

Magnetic resonance spectroscopy in traumatic brain injury.

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  • 1Clinical and Magnetic Resonance Research Center; Department of Neurosciences, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, 87131, USA.


Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) offers a unique non-invasive approach for assessing the metabolic status of the brain in vivo and is particularly suited to studying traumatic brain injury (TBI). In particular, MRS provides a noninvasive means for quantifying such neurochemicals as N-acetylaspartate (NAA), creatine, phosphocreatine, choline, lactate, myo-inositol, glutamine, glutamate, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and inorganic phosphate in humans following TBI and in animal models. Many of these chemicals have been shown to be perturbed following TBI. NAA, a marker of neuronal integrity, has been shown to be reduced following TBI, reflecting diffuse axonal injury or metabolic depression, and concentrations of NAA predict cognitive outcome. Elevation of choline-containing compounds indicates membrane breakdown or inflammation or both. MRS can also detect alterations in high energy phosphates reflecting the energetic abnormalities seen after TBI. Accordingly, MRS may be useful to monitor cellular response to therapeutic interventions in TBI.

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