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Age-Adjusted Thalamic Volume Associated With Disability in MS

Last Updated: December 29, 2011.

Patients with multiple sclerosis have lower age- and lesion-independent thalamic volume than healthy individuals, and the loss in thalamic volume is associated with disability, according to a study published in the Nov. 16 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have lower age- and lesion-independent thalamic volume than healthy individuals, and the loss in thalamic volume is associated with disability, according to a study published in the Nov. 16 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Khader M. Hasan, Ph.D., from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and colleagues compared the in vivo volume and corresponding quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (qMRI), T2 relaxometry, diffuse tensor imaging, and lesion mapping of microstructural attributes of normal appearing thalami in 109 patients with MS (age ranging from 20.8 to 68.5 years) and 255 healthy individuals (controls; age ranging from 6.2 to 69.1 years).

The investigators found that, after adjusting for natural aging and whole-brain lesion volume, patients with MS had lower thalamic volume than controls, and the loss in thalamic volume correlated with disability.

"Using a multimodal qMRI approach applied to the thalami and accounting for lesion distribution, late development, and natural aging, we were able to demonstrate that MS pathology has a neurodegenerative component independent from lesions. Our data on the thalamus should help in the future design of clinical trials that incorporate patients with wide age span that include children," the authors write.

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