We investigated the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings of 32 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and voxel-based analysis of white matter fluid-attenuated inversion recovery image (FLAIR) high-intensity lesions and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Compared with 18 healthy controls, MS patients showed gray matter volume reduction in the thalamus, hypothalamus, caudate, limbic lobe, and frontal lobe. A marked volume reduction of white matter was evident along the ventriculus lateralis and corpus callosum. FLAIR high-intensity lesions were observed beside the ventriculus lateralis. DTI revealed reduced fractional anisotropy areas similar to those of the FLAIR high-intensity lesions. Changes in the volume of increased mean diffusivity (MD) were the most widespread and extended to normal-appearing white matter (p < 0.001). Multiple regression analysis revealed that MD values were significantly correlated with both disease duration (r = 0.381, p = 0.032) and expanded disability status scale scores (EDSS) (r = 0.393, p = 0.026). This study demonstrated that combined voxel-based analysis for volumetry, FLAIR high-intensity lesions, and DTI could reveal widespread brain abnormalities in MS patients. Furthermore, DTI, especially MD, showed far more widespread brain degeneration than other MRI parameters, and was significantly correlated with both severity and disease duration.
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