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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Faster MRI?

May 15, 2012

 

Researchers from the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C (principal researcher: Stanley Fricke) have recently published a study in Medical Physics where they show that ultra-fast magnetic gradients (pulse sequences with rise times 100 times faster than conventional MRI) do not produce nerve stimulation or muscle twitching. According to the researchers, MRI limiting speed should be revisited taking into account the new developments, and they expect MRI to allow imaging of small children in seconds rather than minutes.

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.

More info

 

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.

3T MRI in pediatrics

May 17, 2011

3T MRI is being increasingly performed for clinical purposes. The increased SNR is a significant advantage in pediatrics – improved spatial and temporal resolution assist in overcoming the major anatomic, physiologic and behavioural challenges of imaging children. 3T MRI has the potential to image all the systems in pediatrics. However, optimising the parameters with due consideration to specific pediatric features, such as the increased water content of non myelinated brain, is essential. The neonatal brain and pediatric spine are difficult to image at 3T. Several factors also limit cardiac imaging at present. Further improvements in coil technology and newer sequences may help overcome the challenges that remain. On the other hand, some 3T artefacts inherent to specific anatomic regions, like the dielectric effects encountered in adult abdominal imaging, are less problematic in pediatrics due the smaller size.
For more information, see this white paper

MR keeps bringing exciting images of the human body. Who would have expected to have a woman in labor having an MR scan? Well, last November, physicians at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin followed the birth of a child on an open MR system. The movements of the baby in the birth canal to the exit of the head, were monitored through MR imaging.
This is part of a study that tries to show some light into the fact that 15% of pregnant women need a C-section because of the baby not moving properly into the birth canal.

MR/PET combined scanner

November 21, 2010

PET/CT is a reality nowadays. PET provides functional information, while CT gives high resolution morphological information. The combination of both in one image perfectly aligned is highly important for a more accurate disease assessment. However, CT gives poor detail of soft-tissue and it involves a considerable amount of radiation, which means that MR/PET would be of high relevance. Having said that, it seemed to be nearly impossible to integrate MR and PET technologies: the conventional PET detectors, which use photomultiplier tubes, could not be used in the strong magnetic field generated by an MR system. Integration was further limited by the lack of space inside the MR device. Those difficulties seem to be part of the past, according to Siemens.
Biograph mMR Whole-Body Integrated MR-PET System is currently undergoing clinical use testing (not commercially available yet – no 510k yet).