What Might Be the Impact on Neurology of the Analysis of Brain Metabolism by in Vivo Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy?

J Neurol. 1994 May;241(6):354-71. doi: 10.1007/BF02033352.


In vivo nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) of the human brain is a recently developed technique which allows to assay noninvasively in vivo key molecules of brain metabolism. After a review of the origin of the signals detected by phosphorus and proton MRS of human brain, the impact of MRS on clinical neurology is examined. MRS of the brain does not purport to be a metabolic "biopsy", but unique applications for brain MRS are (1) quantitating the oxidative state of the brain and defining neuronal death, (2) assessing and mapping neuron damage, (3) evaluating membrane alterations, and (4) characterizing encephalopathies. In the near future brain MRS will be performed routinely after conventional MRI, as a valuable metabolic (and functional) complement to the anatomical evaluation of cerebral pathologies, particularly the toxic, metabolic and infectious encephalopathies.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Neurology / methods*
  • Phosphorus Isotopes
  • Protons


  • Phosphorus Isotopes
  • Protons