Elisabetta Pagani1, Andrea Ginestroni2, Federica Agosta1, Mario Mascalchi2, Massimo Filippi1
1Neuroimaging Research Unit, Scientific Institute and University Hospital San Raffaele, Milan, Italy; 2Radiodiagnostic Section, Department of Clinical Physiology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
We studied the spatial distribution of fiber bundle atrophy in patients with Friedreichs and spinocerebellar ataxia. The method used is based on anisotropy maps derived from diffusion tensor images to contrast fiber bundles and on a non-linear registration to calculate differences in comparison with an atlas. The analysis was run considering the whole brain first, and the cerebellum only thereafter. Consistent with pathological findings, both the analyses showed the involvement of the pons, the medulla and cerebellar peduncles. The spatial distribution of atrophy in each group was even better differentiated when the cerebellum was studied in isolation.