Consensus Paper: Radiological Biomarkers of Cerebellar Diseases

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Baldarcara, Leonardo [UNIFESP]
Currie, Stuart
Hadjivassiliou, M.
Hoggard, Nigel
Jack, Allison
Jackowski, Andrea P. [UNIFESP]
Mascalchi, Mario
Parazzini, Cecilia
Reetz, Kathrin
Righini, Andrea
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Hereditary and sporadic cerebellar ataxias represent a vast and still growing group of diseases whose diagnosis and differentiation cannot only rely on clinical evaluation. Brain imaging including magnetic resonance (MR) and nuclear medicine techniques allows for characterization of structural and functional abnormalities underlying symptomatic ataxias. These methods thus constitute a potential source of radiological biomarkers, which could be used to identify these diseases and differentiate subgroups of them, and to assess their severity and their evolution. Such biomarkers mainly comprise qualitative and quantitative data obtained from MR including proton spectroscopy, diffusion imaging, tractography, voxel-based morphometry, functional imaging during task execution or in a resting state, and from SPETC and PET with several radiotracers. in the current article, we aim to illustrate briefly some applications of these neuroimaging tools to evaluation of cerebellar disorders such as inherited cerebellar ataxia, fetal developmental malformations, and immune-mediated cerebellar diseases and of neurodegenerative or early-developing diseases, such as dementia and autism in which cerebellar involvement is an emerging feature. Although these radiological biomarkers appear promising and helpful to better understand ataxia-related anatomical and physiological impairments, to date, very few of them have turned out to be specific for a given ataxia with atrophy of the cerebellar system being the main and the most usual alteration being observed. Consequently, much remains to be done to establish sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility of available MR and nuclear medicine features as diagnostic, progression and surrogate biomarkers in clinical routine.
Cerebellum. New York: Springer, v. 14, n. 2, p. 175-196, 2015.