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Neuroimage. 2012 May 15;61(1):1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.02.057. Epub 2012 Feb 28.

Quantifying cerebellar atrophy in multiple system atrophy of the cerebellar type (MSA-C) using three-dimensional gyrification index analysis.

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Department of Biomedical Imaging and Radiological Sciences, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.


Multiple system atrophy of the cerebellar type (MSA-C) is a degenerative neurological disease of the central nervous system. This study employed a method named, "surface-based three-dimensional gyrification index" (3D-GI) to quantify morphological changes in normal cerebellum (including brainstem) and atrophied cerebellum, in patients with MSA-C. We assessed whether 3D-GI can exclude gender and age differences to quantify cerebellum and brainstem atrophy more accurately. Sixteen healthy subjects and 16 MSA-C patients participated in this study. We compared 3D-GI values and volumes in the cerebellum, based on T1-weighted MR images. We also compared the images of reconstructed 3D cerebellum gray matter (3D-CBGM) and cerebellum white matter (3D-CBWM) to detect the atrophied cerebellar region in MSA-C patients. The 3D-GI values were in a stable range with small variances, exhibiting no gender effect and no age-related shrinkage. Significantly lower 3D-GI values were exhibited in both CBGM and CBWM of the MSA-C patients compared with healthy subjects, even in the early phases of the disease. Decreases in 3D-GI values indicated the degeneration of the cerebellar folding structure, exactly reflecting the morphological changes in cerebellum. The 3D-GI method based on CBGM resulted in superior discriminative accuracy compared with the CBGM volumetric method. Using the two-dimensional 3D-GI values, the K-means classifier can evidently discriminate the MSA-C patients from healthy subjects.

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