We aimed to evaluate whether the subtle metabolic cerebral changes are present in normal-appearing white matter on conventional MRI, in patients with acute brucellosis, by using MR spectroscopy (MRS). Sixteen patients with acute brucellosis and 13 healthy control subjects were investigated with conventional MRI and single-voxel MRS. Voxels were placed in normal-appearing parietal white matter (NAPWM). N-Acetyl aspartate (NAA)/creatine (Cr) and choline (Cho)/Cr ratios were calculated. There was no significant difference between the study subjects and the control group in NAA/Cr ratios obtained from NAPWM. However, the Cho/Cr ratios were significantly higher in patients with acute brucellosis compared to controls (p=0.01). MRS revealed metabolic changes in normal-appearing white matter of patients with brucellosis. Brucellosis may cause subtle cerebral alterations, which may only be discernible with MRS. Increased Cho/Cr ratio possibly represents an initial phase of inflammation and/or demyelination process of brucellosis. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.