Magnetic resonance spectroscopy in pediatric neuroradiology: clinical and research applications

Pediatr Radiol. 2010 Jan;40(1):3-30. doi: 10.1007/s00247-009-1450-z. Epub 2009 Nov 24.


Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) offers a unique, noninvasive approach to assess pediatric neurological abnormalities at microscopic levels by quantifying cellular metabolites. The most widely available MRS method, proton ((1)H; hydrogen) spectroscopy, is FDA approved for general use and can be ordered by clinicians for pediatric neuroimaging studies if indicated. There are a multitude of both acquisition and post-processing methods that can be used in the implementation of MR spectroscopy. MRS in pediatric neuroimaging is challenging to interpret because of dramatic normal developmental changes that occur in metabolites, particularly in the first year of life. Still, MRS has been proven to provide additional clinically relevant information for several pediatric neurological disease processes such as brain tumors, infectious processes, white matter disorders, and neonatal injury. MRS can also be used as a powerful quantitative research tool. In this article, specific research applications using MRS will be demonstrated in relation to neonatal brain injury and pediatric brain tumor imaging.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Biomedical Research / trends
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Brain Injuries / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Child
  • Clinical Medicine / trends
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Neuroradiography / trends*
  • Pediatrics / trends*
  • United States


  • Biomarkers