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Functional magnetic resonance imaging of human motor unit fasciculation in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Roger Whittaker, Dr Paola Porcari, Dr Luis Braz, Dr Ian Schofield, Professor Andrew BlamireORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


A novel diffusion-weighted MRI protocol sensitive to contraction of individual skeletal motor units was developed. We applied this technique to the lower limb muscles of 4 patients with confirmed ALS and six healthy controls. A 3-minute scan revealed florid fasciculation in ALS patients, involving both superficial and deep muscles, and at a frequency higher than in healthy controls. This novel imaging technique reveals hitherto unobtainable information on human motor unit structure and function, which may allow earlier diagnosis and recruitment to clinical trials.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Whittaker RG, Porcari P, Braz L, Williams TL, Schofield IS, Blamire A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Annals of Neurology

Year: 2019

Volume: 85

Issue: 3

Pages: 455-459

Print publication date: 01/03/2019

Online publication date: 28/01/2019

Acceptance date: 21/01/2019

Date deposited: 23/01/2019

ISSN (print): 0364-5134

ISSN (electronic): 1531-8249

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


DOI: 10.1002/ana.25422


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