MRI-based neuroimaging: atypical parkinsonisms and other movement disorders

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Abstract

Purpose of review

MRI has become a well established technical tool for parkinsonism both in the diagnostic work-up to differentiate between causes and to serve as a neurobiological marker. This review summarizes current developments in the advanced MRI-based assessment of brain structure and function in atypical parkinsonian syndromes and explores their potential in a clinical and neuroscientific setting.

Recent findings

Computer-based unbiased quantitative MRI analyses were demonstrated to guide in the discrimination of parkinsonian syndromes at single-patient level, with major contributions when combined with machine-learning techniques/support vector machine classification. These techniques have shown their potential in tracking the disease progression, perhaps also as a read-out in clinical trials. The characterization of different brain compartments at various levels of structural and functional alterations can be provided by multiparametric MRI, including a growing variety of diffusion-weighted imaging approaches and potentially iron-sensitive and functional MRI.

Summary

In case that the recent advances in the MRI-based assessment of atypical parkinsonism will lead to standardized protocols for image acquisition and analysis after the confirmation in large-scale multicenter studies, these approaches may constitute a great achievement in the (operator-independent) detection, discrimination and characterization of degenerative parkinsonian disorders at an individual basis.

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