Functional MR imaging of human motor unit fasciculation in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis



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.

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