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Abnormal activation of the motor cortical network in idiopathic scoliosis demonstrated by functional MRI.

Abnormal activation of the motor cortical network in idiopathic scoliosis demonstrated by functional MRI.

Eur Spine J. 2011 Jul;20(7):1069-78

Authors: Domenech J, García-Martí G, Martí-Bonmatí L, Barrios C, Tormos JM, Pascual-Leone A

The aetiology of idiopathic scoliosis (IS) remains unknown, but there is growing support for the possibility of an underlying neurological disorder. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can characterize the abnormal activation of the sensorimotor brain network in movement disorders and could provide further insights into the neuropathogenesis of IS. Twenty subjects were included in the study; 10 adolescents with IS (mean age of 15.2, 8 girls and 2 boys) and 10 age-matched healthy controls. The average Cobb angle of the primary curve in the IS patients was 35° (range 27°-55°). All participants underwent a block-design fMRI experiment in a 1.5-Tesla MRI scanner to explore cortical activation following a simple motor task. Rest periods alternated with activation periods during which participants were required to open and close their hand at an internally paced rate of approximately 1 Hz. Data were analyzed with Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM5) including age, sex and laterality as nuisance variables to minimise the presence of bias in the results. Compared to controls, IS patients showed significant increases in blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) activity in contralateral supplementary motor area when performing the motor task with either hand. No significant differences were observed when testing between groups in the functional activation in the primary motor cortex, premotor cortex and somatosensory cortex. Additionally, the IS group showed a greater interhemispheric asymmetry index than the control group (0.30 vs. 0.13, p < 0.001). This study demonstrates an abnormal pattern of brain activation in secondary motor areas during movement execution in patients with IS. These findings support the hypothesis that a sensorimotor integration disorder underlies the pathogenesis of IS.

PMID: 21499781 [PubMed - in process]

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