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Jason D. Warren 1 Article
Automated Brainstem Segmentation Detects Differential Involvement in Atypical Parkinsonian Syndromes
Martina Bocchetta, Juan Eugenio Iglesias, Viorica Chelban, Edwin Jabbari, Ruth Lamb, Lucy L. Russell, Caroline V. Greaves, Mollie Neason, David M. Cash, David L. Thomas, Jason D. Warren, John Woodside, Henry Houlden, Huw R. Morris, Jonathan D. Rohrer
J Mov Disord. 2020;13(1):39-46.   Published online September 26, 2019
DOI: https://doi.org/10.14802/jmd.19030
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AbstractAbstract PDFSupplementary Material
Objective
Brainstem segmentation has been useful in identifying potential imaging biomarkers for diagnosis and progression in atypical parkinsonian syndromes (APS). However, the majority of work has been performed using manual segmentation, which is time consuming for large cohorts.
Methods
We investigated brainstem involvement in APS using an automated method. We measured the volume of the medulla, pons, superior cerebellar peduncle (SCP) and midbrain from T1-weighted MRIs in 67 patients and 42 controls. Diagnoses were corticobasal syndrome (CBS, n = 14), multiple system atrophy (MSA, n = 16: 8 with parkinsonian syndrome, MSA-P; 8 with cerebellar syndrome, MSA-C), progressive supranuclear palsy with a Richardson’s syndrome (PSP-RS, n = 12), variant PSP (n = 18), and APS not otherwise specified (APS-NOS, n = 7).
Results
All brainstem regions were smaller in MSA-C (19–42% volume difference, p < 0.0005) and in both PSP groups (18–33%, p < 0.0005) than in controls. MSA-P showed lower volumes in all regions except the SCP (15–26%, p < 0.0005). The most affected region in MSA-C and MSA-P was the pons (42% and 26%, respectively), while the most affected regions in both the PSP-RS and variant PSP groups were the SCP (33% and 23%, respectively) and midbrain (26% and 24%, respectively). The brainstem was less affected in CBS, but nonetheless, the pons (14%, p < 0.0005), midbrain (14%, p < 0.0005) and medulla (10%, p = 0.001) were significantly smaller in CBS than in controls. The brainstem was unaffected in APS-NOS.
Conclusion
Automated methods can accurately quantify the involvement of brainstem structures in APS. This will be important in future trials with large patient numbers where manual segmentation is unfeasible.

JMD : Journal of Movement Disorders