Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a progressive, slow virus infection of the brain, caused by the measles virus, attacking children and young adults. We investigated 15 patients with SSPE by MRI, with 5 normal and 10 pathological results. In the early period, lesions were in the grey matter and subcortical white matter. They were asymmetrical and had a predilection for the posterior parts of the hemispheres. Later, high-signal changes in deep white matter and severe cerebral atrophy were observed. Parenchymal lesions significantly correlated with the duration of disease. A significant relationship between MRI findings and clinical stage was observed in the 1st year of the disease.