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J Neurol Sci. 1995 Dec;134 Suppl:27-32.

Low intensity areas observed on T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging of the cerebral cortex in various neurological diseases.

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  • 1Third Department of Internal Medicine, Hiroshima University School of Medicine, Japan.


The cerebral cortex of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may show low signal intensity on T2-weighted magnetic resonance images (MRI). Since these low intensity areas (LIA) are also often observed in aged patients with other diseases, we suspected that they might be a non-specific finding. We conducted a retrospective study of LIA in 139 patients with various diseases of the central and peripheral nervous systems, and evaluated their relationship to age and other MRI findings. Brain atrophy, ventricular dilatation, white matter lesions, and LIA were visually evaluated on axial images of the spin echo sequences obtained with a 1.5 tesla (T) system. We found that LIA appeared after age 50 and became more common with advancing age. Their presence correlated with brain atrophy and white matter lesions. They were most frequent in the motor cortex, followed by the occipital and sensory cortices. Their incidence in the motor cortex was significantly higher in patients with central nervous system diseases than in those with peripheral neuropathy. We conclude that LIA are common in old patients with various neurological diseases and suggest that the deposition of iron in the cerebral cortices causes their development.

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