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J Clin Neurosci. 2010 Nov;17(11):1378-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2010.03.032. Epub 2010 Aug 19.

MRI sequence findings in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

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Department of Neurology, General Hospital of the Peoples' Liberation Army, 28 Fu Xing Road, Hai dian District, Beijing 100853, China.


MRI has had an important role in the diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). The aim of our study was to compare the efficacy of different MRI sequences among six biopsy-proven patients with sporadic CJD (sCJD) and seven patients with probable sCJD. These 13 patients with CJD aged from 36 years to 75 years (mean age: 55.5 years) were evaluated with T1-weighted, T2-weighted, and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) MRI and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI). The characteristic MRI lesion pattern was found to be bilateral, symmetric and hyperintense signal changes in the basal ganglia and cortical regions. Two major lesion patterns were identified in all patients involving the cortex and basal ganglia. No signal abnormality was found in the thalamus. We found lesions in the cortex and basal ganglia in 7/13 patients (54%), isolated cortical involvement in 2/13 patients (15%), and isolated basal ganglia lesions in 4/13 patients (31%). The cortical involvement was widespread (in at least two regions) and usually included the frontal or occipital lobes (9/13, 69%) on DWI. Only one patient showed moderate high-signal intensity in the basal ganglia on T2-weighted MRI. T1-weighted MRI revealed no signal intensity abnormalities. We conclude that high signal changes in the basal ganglia and cerebral cortex on FLAIR and DWI are useful in the diagnosis of sCJD. Isolated cortical involvement on DWI and FLAIR should lead to a suspicion of CJD. DWI is the most sensitive MRI technique in the diagnosis of CJD, which supports an amendment to the clinical diagnostic criteria for sCJD to include findings from MRI.

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