Brain MRI lesion load at 1.5T and 3T versus clinical status in multiple sclerosis

J Neuroimaging. 2011 Apr;21(2):e50-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6569.2009.00449.x.


Background/purpose: To assess correlation between brain lesions and clinical status with 1.5T and 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Methods: Brain MRI fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery (FLAIR) sequences were performed in 32 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score (mean±standard deviation) was 2±2.0 (range 0-8), disease duration 9.3±8.0 (range .8-29) years.

Results: FLAIR lesion volume (FLLV) at 3T was higher than at 1.5T (P=.01). Correlation between 1.5T FLLV and EDSS score was poor, while 3T FLLV correlated moderately and significantly (rs=.39, P=.03). When controlling for age and depression, correlations between FLLV and cognitive measures were significant at 1.5T for the Judgment of Line Orientation test (JLO) (rs=-.44, P=.05), the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) (rs=-.49, P=.02), and the California Verbal Learning Test Delayed Free Recall (CVLT DR) (rs=-.44, P=.04). Correlations at 3T were also significant for these tests, but of greater magnitude: JLO (rs=-.70, P=.0005), SDMT (rs=-.73, P=.0001), CVLT DR (rs=-.061, P=.003). Additional significant correlations obtained only at 3T included the 2 second-paced auditory serial addition test (rs=-.55, P=.01), the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Delayed Free Recall (rs=-.56, P=.007), and the California Verbal Learning Test Total Recall (rs=-.42, P=.05).

Conclusion: MRI at 3T may boost sensitivity and improve validity in MS brain lesion assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires