Grey matter volume changes over the whole brain in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: A voxel-wise meta-analysis of voxel based morphometry studies

Amyotroph Lateral Scler. 2010 Dec;11(6):549-54. doi: 10.3109/17482968.2010.516265. Epub 2010 Oct 7.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease with selected both upper and lower motor neuron involvement. Although some inconsistent results exist, both pathological studies and many structural neuroimaging studies have revealed brain volume changes in ALS. To provide an objective overview of structural changes in ALS, a voxel-wise meta-analysis was performed in published voxel based morphometry (VBM) studies. A systematic search of VBM studies was applied in ALS. Five studies met the inclusion criteria, comprising 84 ALS patients and 81 normal controls. A voxel-wise meta-analysis was performed on the retrieved VBM studies using signed differential mapping. Descriptive analysis showed that 25% of ALS patients had right precentral gyrus atrophy (2373 voxels). Group analysis demonstrated regional grey matter loss over the whole brain in the right precentral gyrus (p = 7.96 × 10(-4)). Sensitivity analysis showed good sensitivity (157 voxels). In conclusion, right precentral grey matter atrophy was a common finding and prominent feature of brain structural changes in ALS.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity