We investigated whether differences were detectable in the volume and shape of the dorsal thalamus on magnetic resonance imaging in patients with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Manual segmentation of the left and right thalami on magnetic resonance imaging scans occurred in 22 patients with clinically diagnosed PSP and 23 healthy controls; thalamic volumes (left, right, total) were calculated. Between group differences were explored by multivariate analysis of co-variance, using age and intracranial volume as covariates. Analysis of the shape of the thalamus was performed using the spherical harmonic point distribution method software package. Patients with PSP were found to have significant bilateral thalamic atrophy on magnetic resonance imaging; there was significant shape deflation over the anterior-lateral and anterior-ventral surfaces bilaterally, and over the right caudal thalamus. Recognizing decreased thalamic morphology in PSP patients in vivo may be an important component of an ensemble of diagnostic biomarkers in the future, particularly given the difficulty of distinguishing PSP from other Parkinsonian conditions early in the disease course.
Keywords: Atrophy; Magnetic resonance imaging; Morphology; Progressive supranuclear palsy; Thalamus.
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