We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies. Cookie Policy.

Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us
CIRS

Download Mobile App




Events

ATTENTION: Due to the COVID-19 PANDEMIC, many events are being rescheduled for a later date, converted into virtual venues, or altogether cancelled. Please check with the event organizer or website prior to planning for any forthcoming event.

MRI/PET Scans Link Brainstem Atrophy to Dementia Symptoms

By MedImaging International staff writers
Posted on 11 Apr 2022
Print article
Image: Brainstem atrophy is linked to extrapyramidal symptoms in frontotemporal dementia (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)
Image: Brainstem atrophy is linked to extrapyramidal symptoms in frontotemporal dementia (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Frontotemporal dementia, FTD, is an umbrella term for degenerative brain diseases that affect behaviour and cognition. Sometimes, FTD comes with extrapyramidal symptoms, such as those in Parkinson’s disease, and this makes the diagnosis of FTD challenging. However, a new study now shows that accurate imaging and analysis of the brain may make it possible to distinguish between FTD and other diseases that cause extrapyramidal symptoms.

The new study from the University of Eastern Finland (Kuopio, Finland) shows that FTD patients with extrapyramidal symptoms have brainstem atrophy and reduced metabolism in certain areas of the brain significantly more often than patients without extrapyramidal symptoms. This observation can facilitate differential diagnostics in FTD. Extrapyramidal symptoms refer to involuntary movements, typically tremor, slowness, stiffness, loss of facial expressions and automatic movements, such as arm swing when walking. They are often associated with extrapyramidal disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and atypical parkinsonism. Examples of atypical parkinsonism include progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal degeneration (CBD). They share disease mechanisms with FTD, which is why they are nowadays considered to be part of the same spectrum of diseases. FTD is traditionally divided into two main categories: the more common variant with behavioral changes as an early symptom, and the rarer primary progressive aphasia (PPA) with problems related to speech as an early symptom.

Neurodegeneration associated with progressive memory disorders is typically imaged in two ways: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain provides accurate information on brain structures and volumes of the different parts of the brain, whereas positron emission tomography, or a PET scan, provides information on metabolism in different areas of the brain. Degeneration of the brain tissue is often preceded by slow or missing metabolism. In the new study, the researchers analyzed medical records on a total of 139 patients with FTD, PSP or CBD, focusing in particular on their diagnosis and the presence of extrapyramidal symptoms. The patients’ MRI and PET images were analyzed using automated analysis software.

The researchers found that patients with extrapyramidal symptoms also had atrophy of the basal ganglia in the midbrain, and of the brainstem. When looking at patients with FTD alone, it was found that patients with extrapyramidal symptoms had brainstem atrophy considerably more often than patients without extrapyramidal symptoms. In addition, PET image analyses showed reduced metabolism in the superior cerebellar peduncle and the frontal lobes in patients with extrapyramidal symptoms. The study showed, for the first time, that significant structural and metabolic differences can be detected in the brain of FTD patients with extrapyramidal symptoms, compared to patients without these symptoms.

“If our findings are confirmed in other cohorts, they can be used in early diagnostics to distinguish between FTD and Parkinson's disease, for example. These findings will also provide us with a better understanding of the mechanisms of these diseases,” said doctoral researcher Sami Heikkinen. “Although the treatment of these diseases is symptomatic at the moment, an early and accurate diagnosis is an important step towards the development of disease modifying treatments.”

Related Links:
University of Eastern Finland 


Print article
Sun Nuclear
Radcal

Channels

Radiography

view channel
Image: CE-marked and FDA-cleared ExacTrac Dynamic enables the delivery of precision radiotherapy (Photo courtesy of Brainlab)

Next-Gen Technology Enables Precision Radiotherapy with “On-The-Fly” X-Ray Confirmation

Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) is a well-established technique and standard of care in treating breast cancer with radiation therapy. When a patient takes a deep breath, the distance between the heart... Read more

Ultrasound

view channel
Image: Resona I9 ultrasound system features innovative design elements (Photo courtesy of Mindray)

Mindray’s Latest Resona I9 Ultrasound System Provides Innovation-Driven Experience

Mindray (Shenzhen, China) has launched a new ultrasound system which provides an entirely new experience, driven by innovation to address today’s clinical challenges. Mindray’s latest Resona I9 ultrasound... Read more

Imaging IT

view channel
Illustration

Global AI in Medical Diagnostics Market to Be Driven by Demand for Image Recognition in Radiology

The global artificial intelligence (AI) in medical diagnostics market is expanding with early disease detection being one of its key applications and image recognition becoming a compelling consumer proposition... Read more

Industry News

view channel
Image: Global diagnostic imaging market is driven by technological advancements (Photo courtesy of Pexels)

Global Diagnostic Imaging Market to Surpass USD 33 Billion by 2026

The global diagnostic imaging market is one of the most critical segments of the healthcare sector. Medical imaging helps in early detection and diagnosis of diseases at a stage when they can be easily... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2022 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.