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Using MRI to investigate energy metabolism in MND

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Investigating deficits of energy metabolism and structural effects on muscle in motor neuron disease in vivo using magnetic resonance



  • Contact name

    Dame Pamela Shaw

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

  • Research summary

    movement, which usually results in death within two to three years. The diagnosis is based upon a characteristic pattern of symptoms and signs of disease and can be difficult because there is no single confirmatory test. The cause and mechanisms of the disease remain unknown, so treatments are not very effective. Previous research suggests that abnormalities in the way the body makes energy may be important. We plan to use two MRI scan techniques (a detailed type of scan with no radiation risk) to study patients with MND. First, MRI of muscles to see if there is a characteristic pattern of abnormalities in MND because this could help us make the diagnosis earlier which may be important for future treatments. Second, an advanced technique called phosphorus spectroscopy, which enables study of the chemicals in the brain and muscles involved in producing energy, which may help us understand how the disease develops. For example, energy levels might be very low in the brain but normal in muscles early in disease or vice versa. We also plan to use a technique called MUNE: small electrical pulses make the muscles twitch (people generally say it is uncomfortable but not painful) and the number of muscle fibres present can then be measured and compared with MRI. We plan to measure the patients’ strength and ask them about their disabilities so that we know how any changes in our other tests have affected them.

  • REC name

    Yorkshire & The Humber - Sheffield Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    2 Oct 2013

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion