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Neurobiol Aging. 2012 Aug;33(8):1833-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.04.007. Epub 2011 May 28.

A meta-analysis of diffusion tensor imaging studies in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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Department of Neurology, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan, China.


Studies involving diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with whole-brain voxel-based analysis yielded variable findings. A systematic review was conducted on whole-brain voxel-based diffusion tensor imaging fractional anisotropy (FA) studies of ALS patients and healthy controls (HC) in PubMed, ISI Web of Science, Embase, and MEDLINE databases from 1990 to December 25, 2010. Coordinates were extracted from clusters with significant difference in FA between ALS patients and HC. Meta-analysis was performed using signed differential mapping. Eight studies were enrolled, comprising 143 ALS patients and 145 HC. The included studies reported FA reduction at 67 coordinates in ALS and no FA increased. Significant reductions were present in the bilateral frontal white matter/cingulate gyrus and the posterior limb of bilateral internal capsule. The findings remain largely unchanged in quartile and jackknife sensitivity analyses. Our finding suggests that ALS is a multisystem disease beyond motor dysfunction and provides evidence that FA reduction in the frontal white matter and cingulate gyrus may be a special biomarker of ALS.

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