What is the role of dynamic or novel imaging techniques and neurophysiology in the assessment of DCM? [1]
At present, Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy (DCM) does not have a single investigation and/or result that can diagnose DCM, determine what treatment is required and where, nor help the individual affected understand their chances of recovery. For example, the conventional “structural MRI” used in clinical practice to look at spinal cord compression is 10x more likely to show an “incidental” finding than a finding associated with DCM [2]. 
A range of different imaging and electrophysiology techniques are now being explored, from diffusion weighted MRI, to Positron Emission Tomography, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. Establishing if and how these techniques can advance care holds great promise for clinical practice. 

How Is Myelopathy.org and RECODE-DCM Working to Address this Priority?

Myelopathy.org is a partner of the NIHR DISTRESSED Study, exploring the role of finite element analysis to image mechanical stress in the spinal cord, alongside advanced MRI protocols (such as diffusion weighted imaging and blood biomarkers [3,4]). This exciting study, launched in 2023, will give insights into novel imaging techniques and investigations that can improve our understanding of DCM. 

Learn More about Research Priority 9 on the Myelopathy Matters Podcast

In 2020, AO Spine took over the Myelopathy Matters podcast to tackle the Top 10 Research Priorities for DCM. In this episode, we look at the role of dynamic or novel imaging techniques and neurophysiology in the assessment of DCM. Dr Benjamin Davies and Dr Michelle Starkey are joined by Dr Bizhan Aarabi, Rosie Hillman, and Dr Shekar Kurpad.
Listen to Podcast Episode: AO Spine Research Top 10 – No. 9 – Imaging & Neurophysiology