High Field Neuroimaging in Parkinsons Disease

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P. PeRAN, G. LuCCICHeNtI, A. CHeRUBINI, G. E. HAGBeRG, U. SABAtlNI

Until recently, standard neuroimaging techniques have had a marginal role in the diagnosis and follow-up of Parkinson's disease (PD). The diagnosis of PD is essentially based on clinical data (neurological examination and evaluation of therapeutic response) (UK Parkinson's Disease Brain Bank criteria). In the earlyphase the magnetic resonance (MR) examination may be negative. In other words MR is not sufficiently sensitive to the damage caused by PD. One-fourth of patients with a clinical diagnosis of idiopathic PD are subsequently found to have other degenerative disorders [11]. Like clinical examination, standard MR is scarcely specific and has a secondary role that is in fact limited to gross differential diagnosis with other neurological disorders.

The increasing prevalence of PD, partly as a consequence ofpopulation ageing, the introduction ofexper-imental therapeutic strategies, and technological advances in MR hardware and software have stimulated the development of MR techniques with a potential for greater sensitivity and specificity for early diagnosis and the quantification of the pathological process. In particular, the introduction of high static magnetic field (3.0 T) imagers has provided promising results in the study of degenerative neurological diseases by using advanced techniques that have also been recently proposed for clinical application.

We examine the rationale of standard MR diagnostic imaging, the more advanced quantification techniques and the advantages and drawbacks of 3.0 T magnetic fields in PD.

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