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Age-related brain parenchymal fraction is significantly decreased in young multiple sclerosis patients: a quantitative MRI study

Kassubek, Jan; Tumani, HayrettinCA; Ecker, Daniel; Kurt, Anja; Ludolph, Albert C.; Juengling, Freimut D.1 2


The extent of brain atrophy was determined in 33 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and in 60 healthy subjects (21–76 years) by calculating brain parenchymal fractions (BPF, the ratio of brain parenchymal to intracranial volume) from 3D MRI. Within the normal data base, subjects at higher ages showed significantly lower BPF values. In younger MS patients, BPF was significantly decreased compared with age-matched controls (20–29 years, p = 0.0022; 30–39 years, p = 0.0001; 40–49 years, p = 0.0444) and was significantly correlated with disease duration and disease severity, but not with the number of detectable MS lesions. Determination of age-related BPF demonstrated significant brain atrophy in early MS and can be considered as a useful biological marker for monitoring MS.

Author Information

Department of Neurology, University of Ulm, Oberer Eselsberg 45, 89081 Ulm

1Department of Nuclear Medicine, University of Ulm, Robert-Koch-Str. 8, 89081 Ulm, Germany

2Present address: Department of Nuclear Medicine, University of Berne, Inselspital, 3010 Berne, Switzerland

CACorresponding Author:

Received 4 December 2002; accepted 7 January 2003

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.