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Mov Disord. 2007 Mar 15;22(4):578-81.

Evaluating posterolateral linearization of the putaminal margin with magnetic resonance imaging to diagnose the Parkinson variant of multiple system atrophy.

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Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chuo-ku, Chiba, Japan.


The objective was to develop a simple method for evaluating putaminal atrophy in patients with the Parkinson variant of multiple system atrophy (MSA-P). We used magnetic resonance imaging to study 9 patients with MSA-P, 24 patients with cerebellar variants of multiple system atrophy (MSA-C), 38 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), and 27 healthy control subjects. Posterolateral linearization of the putaminal margin was semiquantitatively scored and the putaminal area per intracranial area was calculated as the adjusted putaminal area. There was a negative correlation between the linearization scores and adjusted putaminal areas (r = -0.43, P < 0.001), such that the mean adjusted putaminal area in the group without putaminal linearization (0.0148 +/- 0.0022) was greater than that of the group with linearization (0.0124 +/- 0.0029, P < 0.005). Moreover, the occurrence of putaminal linearization was significantly higher in MSA-P patients (88.8%) than in MSA-C (8.3%), PD (7.9%) and healthy subjects (7.4%; P < 0.005). Putaminal linearization was a highly sensitive (0.89) and specific (0.91) measure for differentiating MSA-P. Our results suggest that evaluating posterolateral putaminal linearization is useful for assessing putaminal atrophy and for differentiating MSA-P from MSA-C, PD, and healthy subjects.

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