Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Study Purpose:

The purpose of this study is to measure neurotransmitter levels in the brain and cerebral spinal fluid as well as detect structural changes in the spinal cord of people with ALS compared to healthy volunteers

Study Status:

Not recruiting


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) , Familial ALS , Sporadic ALS , Healthy Volunteer

Study Type:


Type of Intervention:


Intervention Name:






Study Chair(s)/Principal Investigator(s):

Nazem Atassi, MD MMSc (Massachusetts General Hospital) ID:

Neals Affiliated?


Coordinating Center Contact Information

Neurological Clinical Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital

Alyssa Murphy / email hidden; JavaScript is required / (617) 724-9196

Building 149
Charlestown, Massachusetts, 02129 United States

Full Study Summary:

We are doing this study to learn more about the role of a chemical called "glutamate" in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig™s disease. It is known that nerve cells called "motor neurons" die in the brains and spinal cords of people with ALS. However, the cause of the cell death is unknown. Researchers think that increased levels of glutamate may be related to the disease progression.

Levels of glutamate and other related chemicals can be measured in the brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). During this study, we will compare the levels of these chemicals in the brain, blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) between people with ALS and people without ALS in order to better understand why ALS happens. This information may be very valuable for future development of new treatments for ALS.

Study Sponsor:

Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center

Participant Duration:

4 total visits: 1 visit is mandatory, 3 follow up visits (a visit every 4 months for 1 year) are optional.

Estimated Enrollment:


Estimated Study Start Date:

09 / 30 / 2011

Estimated Study Completion Date:

11 / 02 / 2016

Posting Last Modified Date:

10 / 31 / 2015

Date Study Added to

02 / 28 / 2012

Minimum Age:


Maximum Age:


Can participants use Riluzole?


Exclusion Criteria
Any contraindications to having an MRI (such as pacemaker, claustrophobia) Significant cognitive impairments
Diagnosis of other neurodegenerative disease
Use of anti-coagulant drugs (excluding aspirin) if volunteering for lumbar puncture
Women who are pregnant.

Neurological Clinical Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital

Alyssa Murphy / (617) 724-9196 / email hidden; JavaScript is required

Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129
United States