Sensorimotor cortex atrophy in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy

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Abstract

Previous studies have shown compensatory adaptive changes in cerebral functions before surgery in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM), especially in the sensorimotor cortices. However, the structural changes in the sensorimotor cortices in patients with CSM remain poorly understood. The aim of this study was to assess the volumetric changes in the sensorimotor cortices using morphological MRI and to correlate these changes with clinical scales. We hypothesize that CSM causes atrophy in the sensorimotor cortices, which results in functional changes during CSM progression. The study participants included 30 CSM patients and 25 matched healthy controls. The patients underwent brain morphological MRI before surgery. Compared with the healthy controls, the patients with CSM showed significant atrophy in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1), the primary motor cortex (M1), the somatosensory association cortex, and the supplementary motor area. The gray matter volumes in the S1 and M1 were correlated positively with the motor scores of the Japanese Orthopedic Association in patients with CSM. The change in supplementary motor area correlated with the sphincter scores of the Japanese Orthopedic Association in CSM patients. Our findings provide new insights into the compensatory reaction in CSM patients.

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