Serial diffusion-weighted imaging in subacute sclerosing panencephalitis

Pediatr Neurol. 2008 Jun;38(6):430-4. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2008.01.014.


Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis may be associated with clinical features of frontal lobe dysfunction. We previously reported that frontal lobe volume falls significantly as clinical stage progresses, using three-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging-based brain volumetry. The hypothesis that frontal volume increases correlate with clinical improvement, however, was not tested in our previous study. Therefore, we reevaluated our patient with subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, to determine whether apparent diffusion coefficient maps can characterize the clinical course of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis. We studied an 8-year-old boy with subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, using serial diffusion-weighted imaging magnetic resonance imaging, and measured the regional apparent diffusion coefficient. The regional apparent diffusion coefficient of the frontal lobe decreased significantly with clinical progression, whereas it increased to within normal range during clinical improvements. The apparent diffusion coefficient of the other regions did not change. These results suggest that the clinical signs of patients with subacute sclerosing panencephalitis are attributable to frontal lobe dysfunction, and that apparent diffusion coefficient measurements may be useful in predicting the clinical course of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology
  • Child
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Frontal Lobe / pathology
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Speech / physiology
  • Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis / pathology*
  • Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis / psychology
  • Walking / physiology