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Abstract #2427

DTI Detects Progressive Neurodegeneration in the Brain and Cervical Spinal Cord in ALS

Govind Nair1, John D. Carew2,3, Longchuan Li1, Sharon Usher4, Xiaoping P. Hu1, Michael Benatar4,5

1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, United States; 2Institute for Health Studies, Carolinas HealthCare System, Charlotte, NC, United States; 3School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States; 4Department of Neurology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States; 5Department of Epidemiology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States

Diffusion tensor imaging of the brain and spinal cord in patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and age-matched healthy control subjects revealed a significant decrease in fractional anisotropy, and increase in mean diffusivity and radial diffusivity along the corticospinal tract. The DTI parameters from ALS patients showed significant correlation with their average finger and foot tapping speed, a measure of upper motor neuron dysfunction. These findings suggest that DTI might represent useful imaging biomarkers of ALS disease progression.