High-Level Gait Disorder: Associations with Specific White Matter Changes Observed on Advanced Diffusion Imaging

Michal Kafri, Efrat Sasson, Yaniv Assaf, Yaacov Balash, Orna Aiznstein, Jeffrey M. Hausdorff, Nir Giladi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose: High-level gait disorder (HLGD) is a debilitating disorder causing mobility decline in the elderly. Although its clinical characteristics are well described, its anatomical and pathophysiological underpinnings are poorly understood. This study examined the anatomical distribution of white matter (WM) changes in patients with mild to moderate HLGD of the cautious/disequilibrium type, using advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods. Methods: Thirteen patients with HLGD, 9 elderly and 13 middle-aged healthy controls were scanned using diffusion tensor imaging, Q-space imaging, and conventional MRI. The regions of significant differences between the HLGD group and the elderly control group were defined, and the mean fractional anisotropy and displacement values of these areas were extracted. Results: The HLGD patients had lower fractional anisotropy and higher displacement values in regions related to the motor system, including those along the corticospinal tract and the superior cerebellar peduncles, as well as in cognitive and affective-related areas, including the anterior limbs of the internal capsule and the genu of the corpus callosum. Conclusions: The anatomical distribution associated with HLGD of the cautious/disequilibrium type involves WM pathways that convey motor-related, cognitive and affective-related functions. The underlying pathological process leading to these changes most probably includes demyelination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-46
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroimaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Gait
  • Q-space imaging
  • White matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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