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MR Imaging May Have New Role in Neurological Diagnoses

Magnetic resonance spectroscopy able to identify mice with Huntington's disease mutation

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy can distinguish mice with the Huntington's disease (HD) mutation from normal mice, and it holds promise for rapidly and non-invasively diagnosing neurological degenerative diseases, according to a study in the Oct. 15 issue of the Journal of Comparative Neurology.

Jason B. Nikas, of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues used NMR spectroscopy to study the striatal concentrations of 17 metabolites in 30 mice, including transgenic mice with the HD mutation (R6/2) and wild type mice. The researchers analyzed the spectra using three mathematical approaches (receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, linear discriminant analysis, and logistic regression analysis) to identify biomarkers and develop models for HD diagnosis and clinical change monitoring. The approaches were tested in the 30 original mice and then in 31 mice of unknown HD status. The results were compared with definitive results from genotyping, which is considered the gold standard.

The researchers found that all three of the models correctly diagnosed all 30 of the original mice (17 wild type and 13 R6/2 mice) and all 31 of the unknown mice (20 wild type and 11 R6/2 mice).

"This technology, if expanded to humans and applied to a range of neurological disorders, could potentially provide diagnostic information to distinguish different causes of dementia and other forms of neurological illness, rapidly and non-invasively, with current generation MR scanners," Nikas said in a statement.

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