Creating a free account will enable you to subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as customize your reading experience to show only the categories most relevant to you.
Signing up only take a few minutes, so why not give it a try and see what you've been missing out on.
Researchers have found a way to fine-tune MRI scanning that may help to diagnose multiple sclerosis earlier and to track its progression.
The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), has found a way to improve a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) approach called quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM).
The scanning method could prove "an important tool for diagnosing and tracking the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological diseases," say the researchers from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.
The work was led by Ravi Menon, PhD, an expert in functional MRI (fMRI) with a Canada Research Chair in the subject.Menon says the power of the new imaging approach is in quantifying nerve changes and separating the white matter degeneration observed in MS (myelin damage, which affects nerve insulation) from iron deposition.
He also highlights the ability to track the neurodegenerative changes over time, which could lead to future diagnostic tools to monitor patients' MS disease progression.
"With this methodology, we now have a quantitative way to interpret myelin and iron concentrations, and in particular, any changes to them over time."
"We've been doing these scans on MS patients for a while," he adds, "but nobody knew if it was a valid approach or not. We now know how to interpret the data."
The new fine-tuned method has brought some technological advance to conventional imaging, Dr. Menon says, adding:
"It allows us to separate changes in white matter degeneration, from other changes such as iron deposition, which in conventional imaging all looks the same."
The scientists found that the most common approach to creating QSM images was "insufficient to generate quantitative images" - the data provided by the MRI images did not allow measurement of the myelin and iron content.
They found this lack of sensitivity by changing the orientation of the MRI scanner signal, using a set up that rotated a rat's brain so that it could be scanned from 18 different angles.
The brains were then sent to the histology department for comparison. The scientists correlated scan data with these laboratory findings of "the microstructure of the brain" such as myelin concentration and integrity, and iron deposition.
The study is the first to find the correlation between MRI and histology measurement, the researchers say, meaning the new imaging approach could now be used, they hope, to further study the changes observed in MS and to find out if these align with disease progression.
The research was supported mainly by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Menon published other findings recently that may help improve the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, suggesting that increased iron in the brain may be a marker for MS.
Menon said of the work published in October 2013: "In suspected MS cases - the very first time they appear in clinic - if they have an abnormally high amount of iron in the frontal cortex of the brain, that's probably a pretty good sign they have MS or some other white matter disease."
Written by Markus MacGill
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without the permission of Medical News Today.
New imaging research validates an MRI method for measuring MS progression, researchers' statement from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, December 19th, 2013.
Visit our Multiple Sclerosis category page for the latest news on this subject.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
MacGill, Markus. "Fine-tuned MRI may help MS diagnosis." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 29 Dec. 2013. Web.
23 Apr. 2014. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270650>
MacGill, M. (2013, December 29). "Fine-tuned MRI may help MS diagnosis." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
If you write about specific medications, operations, or procedures please do not name healthcare professionals by name.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact our editorial team, please use our feedback form. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.
This page was printed from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270650.php
Visit www.medicalnewstoday.com for medical news and health news headlines posted throughout the day, every day.
© 2004-2014 All rights reserved. MNT is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.