Texture analysis was applied to MR images of the spinal cord in an attempt to quantify pathological changes that occur in multiple sclerosis (MS). Texture features quantify macroscopic lesions and also the microscopic abnormalities that may be undetectable using conventional measures of lesion volume and number. Significant differences in texture between normal controls and MS patients were seen. Texture differences were detected between normal controls and relapsing-remitting patients before detectable spinal cord atrophy. There was also significant correlation between texture and disability. The segmentation and texture analysis technique demonstrates intraobserver coefficients of variation ranging from 0. 6-8.2%. Texture analysis has potential as a tool for monitoring changes associated with the development of disability in patients with MS. Reproducibility and sensitivity must be improved to use the technique for serial monitoring in individuals. Magn Reson Med 42:929-935, 1999.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.