Subtle Imaging Findings Aid the Diagnosis of Adolescent Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia and Ataxia

Franca Wagner, David S. Titelbaum, Renate Engisch, Emily K. Coskun, Jeff L. Waugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) and hereditary spastic ataxia (HSA) are a heterogeneous group of genetic disorders characterized by progressive lower limb spasticity resulting from pyramidal tract dysfunction. By identifying critical imaging findings within the clinical context of spasticity, radiologists are uniquely positioned to recommend specific genetic testing, and thus facilitate diagnosis. Methods: We present two examples of HSP and HSA that had gone clinically unrecognized for years, and in which magnetic resonance imaging played a critical role in the diagnosis. Results: Radiologists’ awareness of HSP and HSA, combined with a critical review of the clinical history and characteristic imaging findings led to specific genetic testing and a definitive diagnosis. Conclusion: Awareness of HSP and HSA among radiologists will expedite more accurate diagnosis, explanation of patient symptoms, recommendation for syndrome-specific treatment, and family planning considerations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Neuroradiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • HSA
  • HSP
  • SPG11

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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