Is transcranial sonography useful to distinguish scans without evidence of dopaminergic deficit patients from Parkinson's disease?

Mov Disord. 2012 Aug;27(9):1182-5. doi: 10.1002/mds.25102. Epub 2012 Jun 28.


Background: Approximately 10% of patients clinically diagnosed with early Parkinson's disease (PD) subsequently have normal dopaminergic functional imaging. Transcranial sonography (TCS) has been shown to detect midbrain hyperechogenicity in approximately 90% of Parkinson's disease (PD) patients and 10% of the healthy population. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of midbrain hyperechogenicity in patients with suspected parkinsonism and scans without evidence of dopaminergic deficit (SWEDD), in comparison to PD patients.

Methods: TCS was performed in 14 patients with SWEDD and 19 PD patients.

Results: There was a significantly increased area of echogenicity in the PD group (0.24 ± 0.06 cm(2) ), compared to the group of patients with SWEDD (0.13 ± 0.06 cm(2) ; P < 0.001). One (9.1%) of these patients, compared to 14 (82.5%) of the PD patients, was found to have hyperechogenicity (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: We conclude that TCS is useful to distinguish PD patients from patients with suspected parkinsonism and SWEDD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mesencephalon / diagnostic imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Temporal Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial / methods*


  • Dopamine