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Abstract #4105

Subcortical brainstem changes in the motor system in patients with chronic spinal cord injury revealed by quantitative MRI protocols

Patrick Grabher1, Claudia Blaiotta2, Armin Curt1, John Ashburner2, and Patrick Freund1,2,3,4

1Spinal Cord Injury Center Balgrist, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, 2Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom, 3Department of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom, 4Department of Neurophysics, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany

Neurodegeneration and neuroplasticity within the brainstem is poorly understood in patients suffering from spinal cord injury (SCI). We acquired quantitative MRI data of the brainstem using a multi-parameter mapping protocol to assess trauma-induced volumetric and microstructural changes after SCI. We show focal atrophic changes within different subregions of the brainstem in chronic SCI patients and their correlation with clinical outcomes. Neuroimaging biomarkers using quantitative MRI at the brainstem level could be applied to complement clinical assessments during rehabilitation and interventional studies.

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