It is well known that doing exercise regularly can prevent cardiovascular diseases, but now researchers from the University of Pittsburg have shown that it can prevent Alzheimer’s. A study including 299 patients have shown that those who walked at least 6 miles/week regularly over a period of 9 years had a much lower Alzheimer’s incidence. According to the authors: “In short, walking greater distances was associated with greater [gray-matter] volume in specific regions, and greater [gray-matter] volume was associated with a lower risk for experiencing cognitive impairment in later years.” This research has been published at Neurology, Vol. 75:15, pp. 1415-1422.


MRI is a powerful tool to assess neurological abnormalities in preterm babies. However, performing an MR scan on a neonate can be hazardous: positioning the baby inside the scanner, sedation, making sûre only MR-compatible material is used… Anyone that has performed or seen an MR exam of a neonate knows how cumbersome it is. This is where an MRI-compatible incubator comes in handy.
MRI-compatible incubators preserve the environmental cocoon of the incubator, maintaining temperature and ventilation stability and reducing the need to handle infants in the MRI environment. This reduces risks, increases the number of infants that can benefit from an MR exam and saves time in the MR suite. Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna in Austria have just published the results of a study on how the MRI-compatible incubator affects clinical management. Read more on the September issue of the European Journal of Paediatric Neurology (2010, Vol. 14:5, pp. 410-417).

The American Academy of Neurology has weighed in heavily on the side of MR as opposed to noncontrast CT for the diagnosis of stroke patients in its newly published practice guidelines. However, the practice may not be feasible in the real world.

According to the president of AHA, it is clear that MR has more diagnostic accuracy than a CT scan for stroke assessment. The latest studies reviewed in the article demonstrate the superiority of MRI for detecting a stroke at an early stadium. However, considering the current situation in most hospitals, it is always faster to do a CT than an MR scan on an acute stroke patient. There are always extra arrangements to be made before the patient can get into the MR scanner and many places do not have more than one MR scanner, which is fully booked the whole day.
As a conclusion, if hospitals are going to implement these guidelines, they probably need to get themselves an MR scanner at the emergency department.

Stroke and hypothermia

July 7, 2010

Acute ischemic stroke presents a leading cause of death and disability in the industrialized world. It is characterized by large-vessel thromboembolic occlusion and other pathophysiological factors, which contribute to cellular brain tissue damage.
In the last few years, increasing interest has been focused on regulated hypothermia as a method of
cerebral protection, representing one of the most effective treatment options in reducing further deterioration of brain tissue after acute ischemic stroke, if hypothermia is induced soon after the onset of neurological symptoms and maintained for an adequately long time period.
It is well accepted (based on animal studies) that hypothermia is remarkably neuroprotective when applied during or after global or focal ischemia. Protracted hypothermia of a few ◦C (30-33 C) can provide sustained behavioral and histological neuroprotection, whereas brief or very mild hypothermia (32-35 degrees C) only delays neuronal damage.
However, there are still many questions ananswered, for instance, when and for how long the induced hypothermia should be maintained. Therefore, clinical studies are running to test its efficacy in the
treatment and prevention on stroke in humans.
For more information, consult B. Schaller, R. Graf / Pathophysiology 10 (2003) 7–35

Two studys currently carried out have shown changes in hippocampal volume and dorsal striatum as a result of physical exercise and playing video games, respectively.
1)The preliminary results of a study conducted by German researchers have shown that physical exercise may contribute to an increase in hippocampal volume. For more information, take a look at: Arch Gen Psychiatry, Vol. 67:2, pp. 133-143.
2)In the analysis, the researchers (Pittsburg) found that the striatum was more related to learning how to play video games than the hippocampus. In addition, the volume of the “dorsal striatum positively predicted performance improvements for those individuals trained with strategies promoting cognitive flexibility, whereas the volume of the ventral striatum did not, according to the authors. This research was published online January 20 in the journal Cerebral Cortex. More information can be found at

Stroke imaging by CT perfusion has exposed more than 200 patients to radiation poisoning in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles only. But this is just an example of a problem emerging in many medical centers. This has led the FDA authorities to issue a set of preemptive recommendations for the use of CT perfusion. The rapid developments of CT imaging in the last couple of years has led to a significant increase in CT scans, sometimes without taking into account the risks associated to radiation. For more information, take a look at the following links:

A MR scan of a whale…

November 16, 2009

So, I guess it is not the first animal that comes into your mind when you hear that it underwent a MR scan. Well, thanks to MR technology, a spot or abscess was found in the brain of ‘Dallas’. Check out the following link for more information: