What is the role of imaging studies in the workup of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)?

Updated: Sep 06, 2019
  • Author: Carmel Armon, MD, MSc, MHS; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHCM, CPE, FAAPL  more...
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MRI studies are obtained to exclude alternative diagnoses. MRI, MRS, SPECT scan, and PET scan changes have been described in some patients, but the usefulness of these studies in making the diagnosis early in the presentation of primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) is not known.

Similarly, diffusion tensor imaging and magnetization transfer imaging may provide insight into the pathophysiologic process of ALS and PLS by providing objective imaging evidence to support the clinical findings of upper motor neuron dysfunction.

Further investigation is needed to determine and to compare the utility of various neuroimaging markers in making the diagnosis of PLS, in comparison with the clinical examination findings.

At this time, therefore, these advanced imaging techniques cannot be used alone to confirm or exclude the diagnosis of PLS.

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