Cerebral abnormalities in myotonic dystrophy. Cerebral blood flow, magnetic resonance imaging, and neuropsychological tests

Arch Neurol. 1993 Sep;50(9):917-23. doi: 10.1001/archneur.1993.00540090024006.


Objective: To study cerebral abnormalities in myotonic dystrophy (MD) and determine the different patterns of cerebral function in patients with MD with maternal (mMD) vs paternal (pMD) inheritance.

Design: Patients with MD and normal controls were studied with neuropsychological testing, magnetic resonance imaging, and single photon emission computed tomography.

Setting: Studies were done at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, Calif.

Patients and other participants: Twenty-two consecutive-patients with MD, 11 of whom had pMD and eight mMD, and 10 normal controls were studied. Diagnoses were made on the basis of family history, electromyography, and clinical examinations. Normal subjects in the same age distribution were studied for comparisons.

Results: We found significantly lower neuropsychological performance and cerebral blood flow in the patients with MD compared with the controls. Patients with mMD had statistically lower scores on IQ tests and more extensive cerebral hypoperfusion when compared with those with pMD. Changes in cerebral blood flow were most severe in the frontal and temporoparietal association cortex. Cerebral blood blow measures strongly correlated with IQ.

Conclusions: Patients with mMD had earlier onset of disease and lower IQs than the pMD group. The pattern of cerebral perfusion in the mMD group was consistent with a diffuse brain injury, while cerebral perfusion in pMD showed more minor changes. These findings emphasize the cognitive differences between mMD and pMD.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Myotonic Dystrophy / diagnostic imaging
  • Myotonic Dystrophy / pathology*
  • Myotonic Dystrophy / physiopathology
  • Myotonic Dystrophy / psychology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Organotechnetium Compounds
  • Oximes
  • Technetium Tc 99m Exametazime
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon


  • Organotechnetium Compounds
  • Oximes
  • Technetium Tc 99m Exametazime