Brain Imaging Patterns Moving Closer To Identifying Schizophrenia on Functional MRI

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Irina Rish PhD IBM T.J. Watson Research Center Yorktown Heights, NY 10598

Dr. Rish

Irina Rish PhD
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe psychiatric disorder that affects roughly about 1% of population. Although it is not as common as other mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and attention deficit disorder (ADD), and so on, schizophrenia  is perhaps one of  the most debilitating psychiatric disorders,  preventing people from normal  functioning in daily life. It is characterized primarily by a range of psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations (false auditory, visual or tactile perceptions detached from reality), as well as delusions, disorganized thoughts, speech and behavior, and multiple other symptoms including difficulty showing (and recognizing) emotions, poor executive functioning, inattentiveness, problems with working memory,  and so one. Overall, schizophrenia has a devastating impact not only on patients and their families, but on the economy, as it was estimated to cost the US about 2% off  gross national product in treatment costs, missed work, etc.
Thus, taking steps towards better understanding of the disease can potentially lead to more accurate early diagnosis and better treatments.

In this work, the objective was to identify “statistical biomarkers’ of schizophrenia from brain imaging data (specifically, functional MRI), i.e. brain activity patterns that would be capable of accurately discriminating between schizophrenic patients and controls, and reproducible (stable) across multiple datasets. The focus on both predictive accuracy (generalization to previously unseen subjects) as well as on stability (reproducibility) across multiple datsets differentiates our work from majority of similar studies in neuroimaging field that tend to focus only on statistically significant differences between such patterns on a fixed dataset, and may not reliably generalize to new data.

Our prior work on neuroimaging-based analysis of schizoprenia http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/related?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0050625, as well as other research in the field, suggest that disrupted functional connectivity can be a much more informative source of discriminative patterns than local changes in brain activations, since schizophrenia is well known to be a “network disease”, rather than a localized one.

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MRI Biomarkers Track Cognitive Impairment Due to Head Trauma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Virendra Mishra, Ph.D. Department of Imaging Research Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas

Dr. Virendra Mishra

Virendra Mishra, Ph.D.
Department of Imaging Research
Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Repetitive head trauma has been shown to be a risk factor for various neurodegenerative disorders, mood swings, depression and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. There has been a significant amount of research into identifying an imaging biomarker of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) due to repetitive head trauma. Unfortunately, most of the biomarkers have not been able to find a successful translation to clinics. Additionally, the quest for the mTBI imaging biomarker especially using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) techniques has been done by looking at either the gray matter (T1-weighted) or the white matter (Diffusion Tensor Imaging) independently; and both have shown changes that are associated with repetitive head trauma.

Hence in this study, we wanted to investigate if combining gray matter and white matter information enables us to better predict the fighters who are more vulnerable to cognitive decline due to repetitive head trauma. Our method found seven imaging biomarkers that when combined together in a multivariate sense were able to predict with greater than 73% accuracy those fighters who are vulnerable to cognitive decline both at baseline and follow-up. The imaging biomarkers were indeed a combination of gray and white matter measures of regions reported previously in the literature. A key point in our study was we found the regions predicting cognitive decline without enforcing any assumptions on the regions previously reported.

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MRI At Six Months Can Predict Which High Risk Babies Will Develop Autism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Joseph Piven, MD The Thomas E. Castelloe Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry UNC School of Medicine Director of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities Co-senior author of the study

Dr. Piven

Joseph Piven, MD
The Thomas E. Castelloe Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry
UNC School of Medicine
Director of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities
Co-senior author of the study

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Babies with older siblings with autism are at an increased risk (20%) of getting autism over the general population (1%).  Infants who later are diagnosed with autism don’t have any of the stigmata of autism in the first year of life. The symptoms of autism unfold in the first and particularly in the second year of life and beyond.

We have evidence to support the idea that behavioral symptoms of autism arise from changes in the brain that occur very early in life. So we have employed MRI and computer analyses to study those early brain changes and abnormalities in infancy to see if early brain changes at 6 months of age can predict whether babies at high-risk of developing autism will indeed develop the condition at age two.

For this particular study, we used data from MRIs of six-month olds to show the pattern of synchronization or connection across brain regions throughout the brain and then predict which babies at high familial risk of developing autism would be most likely to be diagnosed with the condition at age two.

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MRI Guided Prostate Biopsies Can Improve Care and Reduce Costs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Vikas Gulani, MD, PhD Director, MRI, UH Cleveland Medical Center Associate Professor, Radiology, CWRU School of Medicine

Dr. Gulani

Vikas Gulani, MD, PhD
Director, MRI, UH Cleveland Medical Center
Associate Professor, Radiology, CWRU School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We wanted to learn if performing MR before prostate biopsy, followed by MR guided strategies for biopsy, are cost effective for the diagnosis of prostate cancer in men who have not previously undergone a biopsy and who have a suspicion of prostate cancer.

The most significant findings are as follows:

We found that all three MR guided strategies for lesion targeting (cognitive targeting, MR-ultrasound fusion targeting, and in-gantry targeting) are cost effective, as the increase in net health benefits as measured by addition of quality adjusted life years (QALY), outweigh the additional costs according to commonly accepted willingness to pay thresholds in the United States.

Cognitive targeting was the most cost effective. In-gantry biopsy added the most health benefit, and this additional benefit was cost-effective as well.

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Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Can Exclude Clinically Relevant Coronary Artery Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Pr. Juerg Schwitter MD Médecin Chef Cardiologie Directeur du Centre de la RM Cardiaque du CHUV Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois - CHUV Suisse

Pr. Schwitter

Pr. Juerg Schwitter MD
Médecin Chef Cardiologie
Directeur du Centre de la RM Cardiaque du CHUV
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois – CHUV
Suisse 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Coronary artery disease (CAD) is still one of the leading causes of death in the industrialized world and as such, it is also an important cost driver in the health care systems of most countries. For the European Union, the estimated costs for CAD management were 60 billion Euros in 2009, of which approximately 20 billion Euros were attributed to direct health care costs (1). In 2015, the total costs of CAD management in the United States were estimated to be 47 billion dollars (2).

Substantial progress has been achieved regarding the treatment of CAD including drug treatment but also revascularizations procedures. There exists a large body of evidence demonstrating myocardial ischemia as one of the most important factors determining the patient’s prognosis and reduction of ischemia has been shown to improve outcome.

On the other hand, techniques to detect CAD, i.e. relevant myocardial ischemia, were insufficient in the past. Evaluation of myocardial perfusion by first-pass perfusion cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) is now closing this gap (3) and CMR is recommended by most international guidelines for the work-up of known or suspected CAD (4,5).

Still, a major issue was not clarified until now, i.e. “how much ischemia is required to trigger revascularization procedures”. Thus, this large study was undertaken to assess at which level of ischemia burden, patients can be safely deferred from revascularization and can be managed by risk factor treatment only. Of note, this crucial question was addressed in both, patients with suspected CAD but also in patients with known (and sometimes already advanced) CAD, thereby answering this question in the setting of daily clinical practice.

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Ischemic Stroke: Collateral Blood Vessels Detected by Arterial Spin Labeling MRI Correlates With Good Neurological Outcome

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jalal B. Andre M.D., D.A.B.R.®

Drector of neurological MRI and
MRI safety officer at Harborview Medical Center
University of Washington 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients with good collaterals have better clinical outcomes. AIS is characterized by an ischemic penumbra, a region of salvageable brain tissue, that surrounds a core of irreversible ischemic infarct. The penumbra is tenuously perfused by collateral blood vessels which, if extensive enough, can maintain penumbral perfusion, improving the odds that a larger volume of brain tissue will survive. Standard, first-line methods for evaluating collaterals in the acute setting include CT angiography, MR angiography, and (less commonly) digital subtraction angiography. Arterial spin labeling (ASL) is an emerging MRI technique that assesses cerebral perfusion. Its advantages include relatively short scan time (4-6 minutes), lack of ionizing radiation, and independence from an exogenous contrast agent (contraindicated in patients with impaired renal function or documented sensitivity). Collaterals can be identified within ASL images as foci of curvilinear hyperintensity bordering regions of hypoperfusion. We sought to explore a novel relationship between the presence of ASL collaterals (ASLc) and neurological outcome in acute ischemic stroke patients.

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Clinical Outcomes Following a Low-Suspicion MRI for Prostate Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lars Boesen MD PhD Department of Urology Herlev Gentofte University Hospital Herlev

Dr. Boessen

Lars Boesen MD PhD
Department of Urology
Herlev Gentofte University Hospital
Herlev

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsies (TRUS-bx) traditionally used for detecting prostate cancer (PCa) are prone to sampling errors due to difficulties in target identification. Therefore, concerns about the possibility of missing significant prostate cancer result in men with negative biopsy results frequently undergo repeated biopsies, leading to increased medical costs, patient anxiety and morbidity.

Multiparametric MRI (mp-MRI) has become increasingly important in prostate cancer diagnosis. A suspicious lesion can be targeted by MRI-guided biopsies and improve diagnosis. Conversely, a normal mp-MRI may non-invasively exclude the possibility of an aggressive disease, avoiding the need for further biopsies. However, there are no current guidelines for clinicians whether standard repeated biopsies (TRUS-bx) should be performed in men with either a low-suspicion mp-MRI or benign MRI-targeted biopsies of a suspicious lesion and the clinical outcome and future risk of detecting significant prostate cancer following these findings is unknown.

Therefore, we assessed the risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer after either a low-suspicion mp-MRI or benign targeted biopsies of a suspicious lesion in men with prior negative TRUS-bx, but a persistent clinical suspicion of missed significant cancer over a follow-up period of at least three years. Our results suggest that a low-suspicion MRI in men with prior negative TRUS-bx can be used non-invasively in ruling out longer term significant cancer and immediate repeated biopsies are of limited clinical value and might be avoided even if prostate-specific-antigen levels are persistently elevated.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: A low-suspicion mp-MRI in a man with prior negative TRUS-bx has a high accuracy in ruling out a significant aggressive prostate cancer during follow-up of at least three years. Thus, immediate repeated biopsies rarely find significant disease and could be avoided even if the prostate-specific-antigen level is persistently elevated.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our results should be verified in larger prospective studies with a longer follow-up period to assess other clinical endpoints that include disease progression, cancer specific mortality and associated costs with an mp-MRI approach.

There are no disclosures or conflicts of interest

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:
J Urol. 2017 Feb 21. pii: S0022-5347(17)30297-5. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2017.02.073. [Epub ahead of print]
Clinical outcome following a low-suspicion multiparametric prostate MRI or benign MRI-guided biopsy to detect prostate cancer: A follow-up study in men with prior negative transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsies.
Boesen L1, Nørgaard N2, Løgager V3, Thomsen HS4.
Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on MedicalResearch.com

Subtle Differences in Brain Volume Detected On MRI In ADHD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
M. (Martine) Hoogman PhD.

Postdoc and PI of ENIGMA-ADHD
Radboud universitair medisch centrum
Department of Human Genetics
Nijmegen, The Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There are many neuro-imaging studies aimed at investigating structural brain changes related to ADHD, but the results are often inconclusive.

There are two main reasons for this:

1) the small sample size of the studies and
2) the heterogeneous methods used.

We tried to address these issues by forming an international collaboration to provide a sample size sufficient to detect even small effects in volume differences. And in addition, we analyzed all the raw scans again using homogenized methods. There are data of more than 1700 patients (aged 4-63 years of age) and more than 1500 healthy controls in our dataset, coming from 23 sites around the world. We studied the possible volume differences between cases and controls of 7 subcortical regions and intracranial volume by performing mega- and meta-analysis.

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Can Patients With A Pacemaker or Defibrillator Get An MRI?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Robert Russo, MD, PhD, FACC The Scripps Research Institute The La Jolla Cardiovascular Research Institute

Dr. Robert Russo

Robert Russo, MD, PhD, FACC
The Scripps Research Institute
The La Jolla Cardiovascular Research Institute 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: For an estimated 2 million people in the United States and an additional 6 million people worldwide, the presence of a non-MRI-conditional pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is considered a contraindication to magnetic resonance imaging. This creates a dilemma for at least half of these patients, who are predicted to require an MRI scan during their lifetime after a cardiac device has been implanted. Safety concerns for patients with an implanted cardiac device undergoing MRI are related to the potential for magnetic field-induced cardiac lead heating resulting in myocardial thermal injury, and a detrimental change in pacing properties. As a result, patients with an implanted device have long been denied access to MRI, although it may have been the most appropriate diagnostic imaging modality for their clinical care. Despite the development of MRI-conditional cardiac devices, a strategy for mitigating risks for patients with non MRI-conditional devices and leads will remain an enduring problem for the foreseeable future due to an ever increasing demand for MRI and the large number of previously and currently implanted non-MRI-conditional devices.

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PET Scanning Highlights Link Between Stress and Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Ahmed Tawakol MD Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical Schoo

Dr Ahmed Tawakol

Dr Ahmed Tawakol MD
Co-Director, Cardiac MR PET CT Program
Massachusetts General Hospital and
Harvard Medical School 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: While the link between stress and heart disease has long been established, the mechanism mediating that risk hasn’t been clearly understood. Animal studies showed that stress activates bone marrow to produce white blood cells, leading to arterial inflammation.  This study suggests an analogous path exists in humans. Moreover, this study identifies, for the first time in animal models or humans, the region of the brain (the amygdala) that links stress to the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The paper reports on two complementary studies.

The first analyzed imaging and medical records data from almost 300 individuals who had PET/CT brain imaging, primarily for cancer screening, using a radiopharmaceutical called FDG that both measures the activity of areas within the brain and reflects inflammation within arteries.  All participants in that study had no active cancer or cardiovascular disease at the time of imaging and each had information in their medical records on at least three additional clinical visits after imaging.

The second study enrolled 13 individuals with a history of post-traumatic stress disorder, who were evaluated for their current levels of perceived stress and received FDG-PET scanning to measure both amygdala activity and arterial inflammation.

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