The Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (BNAC) is an international leader in measuring brain atrophy in neurodegenerative neurological disorders. BNAC is working continually to discover the causes and progression of neurodegenerative changes in diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS), and creating new methods to volumetrically assess them. BNAC has published over 250 peer reviewed articles on central nervous system atrophy in MS and other neurological disorders. 

Our work was one of the first in the field to emphasize the role of deep gray matter (thalamus) and cortical pathology at the earliest stages of MS. BNAC’s Directors of Neuroinformatics (Dr. Michael G. Dwyer) and Integration (Dr. Niels Bergsland) have contributed significantly to the field with novel methods and software for brain atrophy measurement in both research and real-world clinical settings. 

BNAC researchers are now testing the significance of the disappearance of lesions into the cerebrospinal fluid. In a retrospective, five-year study of 1,314 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), BNAC found that atrophied brain lesion volume is the only marker from MRI scans that can accurately predict which MS patients will progress to the most severe form of the disease. Atrophied brain lesion volume is a direct measurement of the disintegration of lesions into cerebrospinal fluid as a result of inflammation and neuro-degeneration. This novel MRI technique may lead to a better understanding of the pathophysiological differences between those lesions that disappear into cerebrospinal fluid compared to those that do not and could provide evidence about the disappearance of lesions as a predictive biomarker of disease progression. It may also provide an earlier window into understanding the impact of therapies on neurodegeneration.

For more information about brain atrophy imaging endpoints, click here.


  • Pennington P, Weinstock-Guttman B, Kolb C, Jakimovski D, P Sacca K, Benedict RHB, Eckert S,
    Stecker M, Lizarraga A, Dwyer MG, Schumacher CB, Bergsland N, Picco P, Bernitsas E, Zabad
    R, Pardo G, Negroski D, Belkin M, Hojnacki D, Zivadinov R. Communicating the relevance of
    neurodegeneration and brain atrophy to multiple sclerosis patients: patient, provider and
    researcher perspectives. J Neurol 2022;doi:10.1007/s00415-022-11405-3. [Open Article]

  • Zivadinov R, Bergsland N, Jakimovski D, Weinstock-Guttman D, Benedict RH, Riolo J, Silva D,
    Dwyer MG, on behalf of the DeepGRAI Registry Study group. Thalamic atrophy measured by
    artificial intelligence in a multi-center clinical routine real-word study is associated with
    disability progression. JNNP 2022;doi:10.1136/jnnp-2022-329333. [Open Article]

  • Sandroff BM, Motl RW, Román CAF, Wylie GR, DeLuca J, Cutter GR, Benedict RHB, Dwyer
    MG, Zivadinov R. Thalamic atrophy moderates associations among aerobic fitness, cognitive
    processing speed, and walking endurance in persons with multiple sclerosis. J Neurol
    2022;269(10):5531-5540. [Open Article]

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Part of BNAC’s mission is to help share our tools and experience with our colleagues and other industry partners. If you need help with advanced measurement of brain atrophy in your research or clinical trial work, please reach out to discuss how we can assist. Our group brings decades of experience and expertise to every collaborative study and service partnership.

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