To analyze the changes in the white matter structure of the whole brain in hemifacial spasm (HFS) patients by using the tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) method.
Materials and Methods:
29 HFS patients without anxiety and depression and 29 healthy controls with matching age, sex, and education were selected. All subjects received a 3.0T magnetic resonance (MR) brain diffusion tensor imaging scan. Tract-based spatial statistics method was used to analyze the changes in white matter structure in the whole brain and obtained the cerebral white matter fibrous areas exhibiting significant intergroup differences. The fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity of these areas were abstracted. Analyzed the correlation between these diffusion metrics and clinical variables (disease duration, spasm severity).
Compared with the healthy controls group, the HFS group exhibited significantly lower FA in the forceps minor, bilateral anterior thalamic radiation, and right superior longitudinal fasciculus (P<0.05, threshold-free cluster enhancement corrected). Cohen grading scale of HFS patients was negatively correlated with FA of forceps minor.
Based on TBSS analysis, the injury of white matter fiber tracts in HFS patients was found, including forceps minor, bilateral anterior thalamic radiation, and right superior longitudinal fasciculus. The changes of FA values in forceps minor were negatively correlated with the Cohen grading scale, suggesting that the alteration of white matter fiber in the genu-of-corpus-callosum-cortex circuit plays an important role in the neuro-pathological mechanism of HFS. Combined with previous research, it is also necessary to further explore the change of the superior longitudinal fasciculus in the future.