Vascular brain injury can result from conditions such as high blood pressure and stroke.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, have found out that there is an inverse correlation between vascular brain injury and memory and the ability to problem-solve. This means that these types of injury have a greater influence on cognitive impairment of the elderly than the level of beta-amyloid deposits in the brain.

For this study, 61 people from Northern California, aged 65 to 90 years old, were recruited between 2007 and 2012. For more details, please refer to the full article: JAMA Neurology, February 11, 2013

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According to a study carried out by researchers from the Centre for PET at Austin Health in Melbourne and Bayer Healthcare using florbetaben-PET imaging on 45 subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), progression to Alzheimer’s disease occurred in 75%of MCI with high florbetaben uptake, compared with 53% of MCI with hippocampal atrophy.Furthermore they also found that 80% of MCI with both high florbetaben uptake and hippocampal atrophy progressed to Alzheimer’s, while 19% of MCI subjects with low florbetaben developed other dementias. The researchers concluded that high florbetaben binding indicated a “very high risk of progression from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s within two years and was a stronger and more specific risk factor than hippocampal atrophy in this cohort.” For more information, refer to the Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.

The number of movies in “3D” has increased a lot in the last couple of years, but not only in the cinemas is 3D becoming important. More and more researchers and medical companies are trying to create 3D visualization of medical images in order to help physicians reconstruct in their minds the organ they are seeing as a 2D representation. This is called spatial cognition and there are big differences in the spatial cognition capabilities of different people. Some companies such as Echopixel technologies and Infinite Z, are already working to integrate 3D visualization into the clinical practice by developing advanced visualization and manipulation tools to be used within well-defined clinical protocols.

 

Almost everywhere in the world, the effects of the economic crisis are clearly visible in reduced budgets for healthcare expenditure. Many clinical centers are, therefore, choosing for refurbished or used equipment. There is a difference, though, between refurbished and used. If we consider the example of CT or MRI scans, the vendors dismantle the used equipment, bring it to their facilities and old pieces are replaced, software updated and a fully quality check is done. In addition, these devices have a warranty. Used equipment, however, is normally sold by a retailer and it does not have anything done to it. Choosing one or another will depend a lot on the clinic’s requirements and budget.

Refurbished equipment can be a very good option, when you need to add capacity to your existing facilities, or if you are doing routine scans, which do not require the latest technology. One way or another, the choice is out there, but the decision is up to the buyers.

I wrote in my previous post about smart phones and how they are getting more and more common among Radiologists. Well, tablets are not far behind. Actually, the new iPad’s Retina display, which has raised the tablet’s resolution to the level of a 3-megapixel PACS monitor, is generating a lot of expectation, especially for reading Digital Radiography images. The new iPad offers 2,048 x 1,536-pixel resolution at 264 pixels per inch, up from the iPad 2’s 1,024 x 768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch. This, together with the easy-to-handle features, such as zoom and scroll, make this device very suitable for checking images on the fly.

However, this increased resolution is only beneficial when the images also have a high resolution. This is not the case for tomographic images such as CT, MRI, SPECT or ultrasound, which have a much lower resolution. Nonetheless, the portability of the device, together with the new speed capabilities (e.g. the new iPad utilizes the A5X chip, with quad-core graphics processing capability), make the tablet a very attractive tool for Radiologists.

Last February, a group of Canadian researchers presented at the American Academy of Orthopeadic Surgeons (AAOS) a new study about the interpretation of MR images on the iphone.

Smartphones are becoming part of every activity of our lives, and this is also true for physicians and hospitals. The advantage is that they are portable and most of the time on the pocket or handbag, but the question is whether they are good enough for a medical diagnosis.

According to Dr. John Theodoropoulos, an orthopedic surgeon from the University of Toronto, “iPhone interpretations showed high sensitivity and specificity for medial meniscus and cruciate ligaments injuries with lower sensitivity for lateral meniscus tears and lower specificity for cartilage injuries.  And compared to much larger the PACS workstation interpretation on a flat screen, the iPhone showed excellent agreement for medial meniscus and cruciate ligament injuries and good agreement for cartilage injuries”. However, Dr. Theodoropoulos said that the iPhone app missed two cartilage tears versus the full-sized workstation.

Maybe we are not there yet, but the smartphones and tablets certainly look promising for medical image interpretation and have many features that make them very attractive, specially for emergency cases.

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An MR scan in 5 minutes?

September 1, 2011

Imagine you could do an MR scanner in 5 minutes and get all the image types that you need.
SyntheticMR offers a product called SyMRI that does just that: “On the MR scanner a special sequence is introduced that results in the measurement of the absolute MR parameters.Based on these parameters T1- and T2-weighted image can be generated without rescanning. As each tissue has its own unique combination of parameters, the anatomy can automatically be segmented into various tissue components”.
The quantification scan is a multi-slice, multi-echo, multi-saturation delay sequence that is able to retrieve T1 and T2 relaxation, proton density and the B1 field in one scan.
Whether this is the future of MRI, only time and clinical studies will tell, but it looks promising.