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Radiology. 2002 Jul;224(1):184-92.

Multiple sclerosis: low-frequency temporal blood oxygen level-dependent fluctuations indicate reduced functional connectivity initial results.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Indiana University School of Medicine, CL 157, 541 Clinical Dr, Indianapolis, IN 46202-5111, USA. mjlowe@iupui.edu



To study the correlation of low-frequency blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) fluctuations on magnetic resonance (MR) images obtained of the left- and right-hemisphere primary motor regions in healthy control subjects and patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).


Sixteen healthy volunteers and 20 patients with MS underwent MR imaging with a 1.5-T imager by using a protocol designed to monitor low-frequency BOLD fluctuations. Data for low-frequency BOLD fluctuations were acquired with subjects at rest and during continuous performance of a bilateral finger-tapping task. These data were low-pass filtered (<0.08 Hz), and cross correlations of all acquired pixels to a region of interest in the left precentral gyrus were calculated. Confidence levels were calculated from the cross correlations. The fraction of pixels in the right precentral gyrus above a confidence level of 95% for correlation with the left precentral gyrus was calculated for each subject.


A plot of the fraction of the right precentral gyrus with high correlation with the left precentral gyrus for the finger-tapping state versus the resting state showed a clear discrimination between patients with MS and control subjects. Compared with control subjects, patients with MS generally had a smaller fraction of the pixels in the right precentral gyrus above the confidence level. This finding indicates that our method results in greater than 60% sensitivity and 100% specificity for discriminating patients with MS from control subjects. No significant correlation was found between clinical measures of MS disease and correlations of low-frequency BOLD fluctuations between left and right precentral gyri.


On the basis of the connectivity measure of low-frequency BOLD fluctuations, patients with MS exhibited lower functional connectivity between right- and left-hemisphere primary motor cortices when compared with that in control subjects.

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