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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2013 Sep;34(9):1682-9. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A3342. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

(1)H-MR spectroscopy in the human spinal cord.

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Institute of Neuroradiology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


MR spectroscopy allows insight into the chemical composition of human tissue noninvasively. Thereby it can help to better characterize pathologic processes affecting the spinal cord and may provide important clinical markers for differential diagnosis. However, due to technical challenges, it has been rarely applied to the spinal cord. The aim of this review was to summarize the technical development and clinical studies using MR spectroscopy in the spinal cord. Main challenges of applying MR spectroscopy in the spinal cord are discussed, and a description of a state-of-the-art scan protocol is given. In conclusion, MR spectroscopy is a promising tool for research and diagnosis of the spinal cord because it can provide additional information complementary to other noninvasive imaging methods. However, the application of MR spectroscopy in the spinal cord is not straightforward, and great care is required to attain optimal spectral quality.

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