Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Medical Biophysics


Dr. Neil Duggal

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Robert Bartha

Joint Supervisor


Surgical outcome for patients suffering from cervical myelopathy (CM) is unpredictable with varying motor and sensory symptom recovery. Previous in-vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) studies of patients surgically treated for CM have demonstrated decreased N-acetylaspartate (NAA)/creatine levels in the motor cortex indicating reduced neuronal function. The goal of this thesis was to determine whether absolute NAA changes in the motor and sensory cortices mirror the pattern of motor and sensory functional change observed in patients post surgical treatment.

MRS data were acquired on a 3.0 Tesla Siemens MRI along with clinical outcome measures at baseline, 6-weeks and 6-months post-surgery. The results showed that absolute NAA levels declined in both cortices in a similar temporal pattern but opposite in direction to clinical motor and sensory functional recovery. Findings suggest that low NAA levels may be a trigger for functional recovery although the neural mechanisms involved have not been elucidated.