Brain imaging techniques such as MRI and PET have the potential for identifying central nervous system involvement in SLE. They may also help elucidate the mechanisms giving rise to the widely diverging manifestations of CNS involvement in SLE. This report documents an intensive longitudinal study of three women with neuropsychiatric SLE. PET and neuropsychological evaluation were both used to examine the co-occurrence of behavioural/cognitive deficits with alterations in regional brain glucose metabolism. In all three patients, FDG uptake indicated abnormalities which were not identified on CT scan, but corresponded well with localisable cognitive deficits. Changes in each patient's cognitive profile on reassessment paralleled changes on PET. These findings support the suggestion that cognitive deficits in SLE patients reflect primary CNS involvement.
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