Most of us with PD, especially with YOPD, had a brain MRI prior to our formal diagnosis, just to exclude other potential causes of parkinsonism, such as brain tumors, MS, etc...
We were also told that brain MRIs cannot diagnose PD, because..."The MRI and CAT scans of the brain of people with Parkinson's disease appear normal. The brain of people with Parkinson's disease appears normal.The brain changes that create neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's are microscopic, on a chemical level, and are not revealed by these scans".........http://umm.edu/progr...ealth/diagnosis
Right? As it turns out, not necessarily !!
There may be a PD-specific sign in our brain MRIs after all...
The "swallow-tail" sign...Or, to be exact, the "missing swallow-tail" sign of PD!!!
Previous studies had shown that ultra high field 7TESLA MRI -which is not widely available and mainly used only for research purposes- may reveal characteristic structural changes in the substantia nigra, the area affected in PD.
However, a recent study, published in PLOS ONE PLOS ONE 9(4): e93814. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093814 showed that these changes can also be detected using routine 3TESLA brain MRI !!!
“This is a breakthrough finding as currently Parkinson’s disease is mostly diagnosed by identifying symptoms like stiffness and tremor,” says Stefan Schwarz of the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham"
“Imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis are limited to expensive nuclear medical techniques, which are not widely available and associated with potentially harmful ionizing radiation"
“Using magnetic resonance imaging (no ionizing radiation involved and much cheaper than nuclear medical techniques), we identified a specific imaging feature which has great similarity to a tail of a swallow and therefore decided to call it the ‘swallow tail sign.’ This sign is absent in Parkinson’s disease.”