Dec 02, 2002
A new form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) called tensor diffusion imaging is producing good results in diagnosing multiple sclerosis (MS) and may also prove useful in diagnosing other brain disorders.
The new technique permits radiologists to measure the rate and direction of water particles in the white matter structures of the brain, according to James Provenzale, M.D., professor of radiology at Duke University Medical Center (Durham, NC, USA). Tensor diffusion imaging allows us to find changes in the white matter of MS patients that we cant see on standard MR images, says Dr. Provenzale. Standard MR images can show plaques, but by the time the plaque shows up on the MR image, the patient usually has more advanced disease.
This means that tensor imaging is helping to detect MS before the patient
has any symptoms, allowing early treatment. Duke researchers are also using
tensor diffusion imaging to evaluate and monitor Krabbe disease, a rare
but deadly brain disorder in children. They have found that if they scan
patients at risk within the first month of life and begin treatment immediately,
their brains remain more similar to those of normal children. The researchers
believe that tensor imaging will also prove useful in detecting and monitoring
more common brain disorders such as Alzheimers disease.
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