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Neurology. 2002 Jan 8;58(1):48-55.

Older people with impaired mobility have specific loci of periventricular abnormality on MRI.

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Department of Neurology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington 06030-2017, USA.



Recent investigations using MRI suggest that older persons with mobility impairment have a greater volume of abnormal cerebral white matter compared with persons with normal mobility, thus raising the possibility that those with impairment have lesions in areas critical for the control of mobility.


To utilize automated image analysis methods to localize the specific regions of abnormal white matter that distinguish subjects with lower mobility from subjects with higher mobility.


Tissue classification was performed on subjects' dual-echo long repetition time spin-echo MRI using computer algorithms operating on intensity criteria integrated with anatomic information. Statistical analysis of group differences was obtained after spatially normalizing each brain to a standard reference brain.


Four discrete periventricular regions, including bilaterally symmetric frontal and bilateral occipitoparietal regions, were identified as being sensitive (frontal) or specific (occipitoparietal) in discriminating the subjects with lower mobility from subjects with higher mobility. The symmetry of these lesions in individual subjects suggested pathology other than arteriolar infarction.


These results suggest that damage to discrete frontal and occipitoparietal periventricular white matter locations may be associated with a mobility disorder of aging.

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