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J Neuroimaging. 1994 Jan;4(1):23-8.

In vivo proton spectroscopy of intracranial infections and neoplasms.

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Department of Neurology, Harbor-University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical Center.


The chemical characteristics of 10 neoplastic and 11 infectious brain masses were studied by in vivo 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy. In tumors, peak height ratios of n-acetyl-L-aspartate to choline were decreased compared to those in normal brain tissue and infectious masses (p < 0.02), but the ratios in normal brains and those with infections did not differ. N-acetyl-L-aspartate-to-creatine/phosphocreatine ratios were significantly lower in infectious masses and tumors compared to normal brain tissue (p = 0.003). However, in progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, N-acetyl-L-aspartate appeared relatively unchanged. Lactate was greater than choline in 9 of 11 brains with infection, 0 of 14 control brains, and 1 of 10 tumors. Lactate-to-choline ratios were significantly elevated in infectious masses compared with tumors (p < 0.01). 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy is promising for the noninvasive diagnosis of focal brain masses.

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