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Peden Carol J.; Cowan, Frances M.; Bryant, David J.; Sargentoni, Janet; Cox, I. Jane; Menon, David K.; Gadian, David G.; Bell, Jimmy D.; Dubowitz, Lilly M.
Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: November-December 1990

Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) was used to study the brain of 2 normal and 15 abnormal infants aged from 33 weeks postmenstrual age (PMA) to 14 months postnatal age. Eleven of the infants were examined on at least two occasions. The principal clinical diagnoses in the abnormal infants were perinatal ischemic and hemorrhagic brain injury. All proton spectra demonstrated peaks that were assigned to N-acetylaspartate (NAA), choline containing compounds (Cho), and creatine plus phosphocreatine (Cr). The NAA/Cho and NAA/Cr ratios increased with age, while the Cho/Cr ratio decreased with age in the majority of infants. The NAA/Cho ratio was generally lower in abnormal infants, but the difference was not apparent before 40 weeks (PMA). This ratio was lowest in infants with the severest degree of neurological abnormality. Proton and phosphorus MRS was compared in seven infants. In those with severe brain lesions, early phosphorus spectra were abnormal. On follow-up the phosphorus spectra became normal, but the proton spectra showed persistently low NAA/Cho and NAA/Cr ratios. Proton MRS provides new information that may be complementary to phosphorus MRS in the diagnosis and monitoring of brain development in normal and neurologically damaged infants.

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