About this Research Topic
MRI is one of the core elements within the differential diagnostic work-up of patients with neurodegenerative diseases. Computerized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based analyses are currently not routinely used for individual diagnosis in neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia syndromes, parkinsonian syndromes, and motor neuron diseases. However, especially advanced MRI techniques have improved the anatomical understanding of pathomorphological alterations in various neurodegenerative diseases by quantitative comparisons between patients and controls at the group level.
The additional value of computer-based MRI with respect to diagnosis at the individual level and the potential use as a technical biological marker remains a subject of investigation by multiparametric MRI protocols, including voumetry/morphometry of T1-weighted 3-D MRI, diffusion-weighted imaging (DTI), and intrinsic functional connectivity MRI (ifc MRI).
Beyond the key-role of cross-sectional studies to identify regional affectation patterns of neurodegenerative diseases ('computer-based pathoanatomy'), it is a future task to expand these cross-sectional findings to group-based longitudinal markers. Currently, the concept of disease propagation in specific neurodegenerative diseases cannot be appropriately monitored by MRI-based neuroimaging tools, but promising approaches exist. Multi-platform, multi-protocol studies of different MRI metrics are increasingly used as instruments of research – studies within the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) and the Neuroimaging society in Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (NiSALS) have been integrating cross-platform data. Upon this basis, the potential of multiparametric neuroimaging will increase both as a biological marker and as an application to individual patient imaging (disease staging) in the framework of 'personalized medicine.'
The goal of this Research Topic is to give an overview on recent applications of multiparametric MRI to patients with various neurodegenerative diseases. Starting from applications at the group level, continuous progress of a transfer to individual diagnostic classification is reviewed and discussed.