Your thalamus is your body’s information relay station. All information from the body’s senses (except smell) must be processed through your thalamus before being sent to the brain’s cerebral cortex (front bit) for interpretation. The thalamus also plays a role in sleep, wakefulness, consciousness, learning and memory. Shrinkage of the thalamus sems to be a common feature of neurodegeneration and seems a good discriminator for nerve loss.
Corpus callosum is the highway between the left and right sides of the brain
Niiranen M, Koikkalainen J, Lötjönen J, Selander T, Cajanus A, Hartikainen P, Simula S, Vanninen R, Remes AM.Grey matter atrophy in patients with benign multiple sclerosis. Brain Behav. 2022:e2679. doi: 10.1002/brb3.2679.
Background: Brain atrophy appears during the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) and is associated with the disability caused by the disease.
Methods: We investigated global and regional grey matter (GM) and white matter (WM) volumes, WM lesion load, and corpus callosum index (CCI), in benign relapsing-remitting MS (BRRMS, n = 35) with and without any treatment and compared those to aggressive relapsing-remitting MS (ARRMS, n = 46).
Results: The total brain and cerebral WM volumes were larger in BRRMS than in ARRMS (p = .014, p = .017 respectively). In BRRMS, total brain volumes, regional GM volumes, and CCI were found similar whether or not disease-modifying treatment (DMT) was used. The total (p = .033), as well as subcortical (p = .046) and deep WM (p = .041) lesion load volumes were larger in BRRMS patients without DMT. (So benign MS is not benign) Cortical GM volumes did not differ between BRRMS and ARRMS volumes of total brain tissue (p = .014) and thalami (p = .003) were larger in patients with BRRMS compared to ARRMS. A positive correlation was found between CCI and whole-brain volume in both BRRMS (r = .73, p < .001) and ARRMS (r = .80, p < .01).
Conclusions: Thalamic volume is the most prominent measure to differentiate BRRMS and ARRMS. Validation of automated quantification of CCI provides an additional applicable MRI biomarker to detect brain atrophy in MS.