Calcification of the basal ganglia: Computerized tomography and clinical correlation

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Article abstractDuringa1-year period, 4219 consecutive computerized tomograms (CT) were reviewed for basal ganglia calcification; 14 patients with such calcification were identified. Calcifications on CT scan were bilateral in 12 of these cases and unilateral in 2. All bilateral calcifications were symmetric. The globus pallidus was the site of calcification in 13 ofthe 14 patients. Bilateral dentate nucleus calcification was seen in one patient. Skull radiograms were normal in all but one. Patients had diverse symptoms that were often explained by other findings, suggesting that calcifications may be coincidental and that basal ganglia calcification may not be a nosologic entity. Disturbances of calcium metabolism were not found in these patients, minimizing the pathophysiologic significance of altered calcium metabolism and the need for extensive endocrinologic evaluation. The finding of basal ganglia calcification alone does not justify invasive diagnostic procedures. Extrapyramidal signs may be associated with basal ganglia calcification; parkinsonism associated with basal ganglia calcification differs from idiopathic parkinsonism in being resistant to levodopa therapy.

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