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Eur J Neurol. 2008 Feb;15(2):185-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2007.02034.x.

Diffusion tensor imaging in patients with primary cervical dystonia and in patients with blepharospasm.

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  • 1Department of Neurological Sciences and Neuromed Institute (IRCCS), 'La Sapienza' University of Rome, Rome, Italy.


Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) analyses the movement of water molecules within the cerebral white matter thus providing information on ultrastructural brain changes. We studied 18 patients with cervical dystonia (CD), 16 with blepharospasm (BSP) and 35 years age-matched healthy controls. DTI data were obtained with a Philips 1.5 Tesla scanner and then processed to obtain maps of fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD). Twenty-three square regions of interest of uniform size were positioned on the FA maps and then automatically transferred to the MD maps. FA and MD values in the corpus callosum, left and right putamen, right caudate, left and right pre-frontal cortical area and left supplementary motor area in CD patients differed significantly from those in healthy controls. No significant regional differences were found between patients with BSP and healthy controls. In the CD group, age, duration and severity of dystonia did not correlate with regional FA/MD values, whereas the duration of botulinum toxin treatment correlated significantly with the MD value in the right-pre-frontal cortex. The abnormal DTI findings in patients with CD suggest the presence of brain ultrastructural changes in adult-onset primary CD.

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