Syringomyelia information

James Little jwl128 at
Sat Apr 22 08:44:16 EST 1995

	I would be interested to learn more about diffusion weighted MRI 
and magnetization transfer contrast.  It seems that we need to better 
describe the anatomy and the physiology of the damage and recovery which 
result in syringomyelia.  The neurologic decline which results includes 
damage to white matter long-tracts, interneurons in the intermediate gray 
and motoneurons in the ventral horn.  The nature of the damage may 
include demyelination and neuronal degeneration.  Recovery may involve 
remyelination or reactive synaptogenesis in the spinal cord or motor axon 
sprouting and reinnervation in the periphery.  With electrophysiologic 
studies, we see evidence of both upper and lower motoneuron damage and 
evidence of compensatory reinnervation in the periphery.  It seems likely 
we will need a combination of imaging and electrophysiologic studies to 
monitor syringomyelia.

On 17 Apr 1995, Ben Inglis wrote:

> In article 100000 at, James Little <jwl128 at> writes:
> >	MRI readily demonstrates cysts or syrinxes in the spinal cord but
> >serial MRI does not readily distinguish cysts or syrinxes which are
> >producing ongoing neurologic decline from those which are not producing 
> >ongoing neurologic decline.  Other neurophysiologic measures are needed 
> >to monitor the neurologic status of syringomyelia patients.
> Have you considered diffusion weighted MRI or magnetization transfer contrast?
> Preliminary indications (some recent literature, some recent data I've acquired)
> are that one or both of these contrast mechanisms can provide much earlier
> detection of demyelination, for example, than conventional (T1 and/or T2)
> weighted sequences.  We are specifically gearing towards detecting Wallerian/
> retrograde degeneration and quantifying spared white matter in an injury (or
> syringomyelia).  Does this help?  Would you use MRI as a method of choice if 
> you could, e.g. for its non-invasiveness?
> Ben

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