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Fractional anisotropy in children with dystonia or spasticity correlates with the selection for DBS or ITB movement disorder surgery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Daniel E Lumsden, Jonathan Ashmore, Gareth Ball, Geoffrey Charles-Edwards, Richard Selway, Keyoumars Ashkan, Jean-Pierre Lin

Original languageEnglish
Published12 Jan 2016


  • art_3A10.1007_2Fs00234_015_1639_9

    art_3A10.1007_2Fs00234_015_1639_9.pdf, 2.93 MB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:15 Jan 2016

    Version:Final published version

    Licence:CC BY

King's Authors


INTRODUCTION: There is increasing interest in neurosurgical interventions for hypertonicity in children and young people (CAYP), which often presents with a mixture of dystonia and spasticity. Significant spasticity would usually be considered a contraindication for deep brain stimulation (DBS) and more suitably treated with intrathecal baclofen (ITB). We aimed to explore whether white matter microstructure, as measured by Fractional Anisotropy (FA), differed between CAYP selected for DBS compared to ITB surgery.

METHODS: We retrospectively analysed Diffusion Tensor Imaging for 31 CAYP selected for DBS surgery (14 primary dystonia, 17 secondary dystonia) and 10 CAYP selected for ITB surgery. A voxel-wise comparison of FA values was performed using tract-based spatial statistics, comparing primary and secondary dystonia groups to the ITB group, and the two dystonia groups.

RESULTS: Widespread areas of reduced FA were demonstrated in ITB compared to either DBS group and in CAYP with secondary compared to primary dystonia. These changes were not restricted to motor pathways. Region of interest (ROI) analysis from the corticospinal tract (CST) demonstrated groupwise differences but overlapping values at the individual level.

CONCLUSIONS: DTI measures may contribute to decision making for CAYP selection for movement disorder surgery. Significant differences in CAYP with secondary dystonia selected for DBS surgery compared to CAYP selected for ITB pump implants, suggesting that more extensive white matter injury may be a feature of the spastic motor phenotype. Altered white matter microstructure could potentially explain the reduced responsiveness to interventions such as DBS in secondary compared to primary dystonia.

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