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You are here: Home Publications CENs Bibliography Tracking the brain in myotonic dystrophies: A 5-year longitudinal follow-up study

Carla Gliem, Martina Minnerop, Sandra Roeske, Hanna Gärtner, Jan-Christoph Schoene-Bake, Sandra Adler, Juri-Alexander Witt, Felix Hoffstaedter, Christiane Schneider-Gold, Regina C Betz, Christoph Helmstaedter, Marc Tittgemeyer, Katrin Amunts, Thomas Klockgether, Bernd Weber, and Cornelia Kornblum (2019)

Tracking the brain in myotonic dystrophies: A 5-year longitudinal follow-up study

PLoS ONE, 14(3):1--21.

Objectives The aim of this study was to examine the natural history of brain involvement in adult-onset myotonic dystrophies type 1 and 2 (DM1, DM2). Methods We conducted a longitudinal observational study to examine functional and structural cerebral changes in myotonic dystrophies. We enrolled 16 adult-onset DM1 patients, 16 DM2 patients, and 17 controls. At baseline and after 5.5 ± 0.4 years participants underwent neurological, neuropsychological, and 3T-brain MRI examinations using identical study protocols that included voxel-based morphometry and diffusion tensor imaging. Data were analyzed by (i) group comparisons between patients and controls at baseline and follow-up, and (ii) group comparisons using difference maps (baseline–follow-up in each participant) to focus on disease-related effects over time. Results We found minor neuropsychological deficits with mild progression in DM1 more than DM2. Daytime sleepiness was restricted to DM1, whereas fatigue was present in both disease entities and stable over time. Comparing results of cross-sectional neuroimaging analyses at baseline and follow-up revealed an unchanged pattern of pronounced white matter alterations in DM1. There was mild additional gray matter reduction in DM1 at follow-up. In DM2, white matter reduction was of lesser extent, but there were some additional alterations at follow-up. Gray matter seemed unaffected in DM2. Intriguingly, longitudinal analyses using difference maps and comparing them between patients and controls did not reveal any significant differences of cerebral changes over time between patients and controls. Conclusion The lack of significant disease-related progression of gray and white matter involvement over a period of five years in our cohort of DM1 and DM2 patients suggests either a rather slowly progressive process or even a stable course of cerebral changes in middle-aged adult-onset patients. Being the first longitudinal neuroimaging trial in DM1 and DM2, this study provides useful additional information regarding the natural history of brain involvement.

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