Purpose: Segmentation and diffusion-tensor-imaging of the corpus callosum (CC) have been linked to gait impairment. However, such measurements are impracticable in clinical routine. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association between simple linear measurements of CC thickness with gait.
Methods: Two hundred and seventy-two community-dwelling subjects underwent neurological assessment and brain MRI. Mid-sagittal reformats of T1-weighted images were used to determine CC thickness. The association of measurements with clinical evaluation of gait was assessed by multivariate regression, controlling for numerous clinical and imaging confounders. Differences in CC thickness were, moreover, compared between subgroups with no, moderate or severe impairment of gait.
Results: In univariate analyses, thickness of the genu and body of CC but not the splenium were associated with postural stability (P < 0.01). Multivariate regression revealed thickness of CC genu as the only imaging variable independently associated with gait (P = 0.01). Genu thickness was significantly different between subjects with high and low (P = 0.0003) or high and moderate (P = 0.001) risk of fall.
Conclusion: Atrophy of the CC genu is an imaging marker of gait impairment in the elderly suggesting higher risk of fall. Simple linear measurements of CC can help in MRI evaluation of patients with gait impairment.
Key points: • Regional atrophy of the corpus callosum reflects disruption of gait regulation • Genu thickness on cranial MRI is an independent marker of gait impairment • Findings help in the MRI evaluation of patients with gait impairment.