bpMRI Can Be Used to Improve Prostate Cancer Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

Dr. Boessen

Dr. Lars Boesen MD PhD
Department of Urology
Herlev Hospital

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

Response: The current standard of care in prostate cancer diagnosis includes untargeted transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsies for all biopsy-naïve men with clinically suspicion of prostate cancer. However, this strategy that practically has remained unchanged for decades has limited diagnostic accuracy as significant cancers are missed or under-graded and insignificant cancers are unintendedly detected by the random sampling leading to possible overtreatment.

Multiparametric MRI in the diagnosis of prostate cancer has been studied extensively in recent years and has improved detection, localization, staging and risk stratification. It has been suggested that if multiparametric MRIs were used as a triage test prior to biopsies, a significant proportion of men might safely avoid prostate biopsies and the diagnostic ratio of significant vs. insignificant cancer could be improved compared to performing standard biopsies in all men. However, multiparametric MRIs are generally time-consuming (~40 min scan time), expensive and include intravenous contrast media. This reduces its feasibility for widespread clinical implementation in larger patient populations in the western community with its high PCa prevalence.

The development of a simpler and faster (~15 min) biparametric MRI protocol using less scan sequences and circumvents intravenous contrast-media seems to preserve adequate diagnostic accuracy in a detection setting and could facilitate dissemination of prostate MRI as a triage test before any biopsy.

Here we present a large prospective study that assesses the diagnostic accuracy of a novel biparametric MRI to rule out significant prostate cancer in N=1020 biopsy-naive men with clinically suspicion of prostate cancer.

We found that a low suspicion biparametric MRI had a very high negative predictive value (97%) for ruling out significant cancer on confirmatory biopsies. Furthermore, bpMRI suspicion scores were strongly associated with prostate cancer detection rates and restricting biopsies (targeted plus standard) to men with suspicious biparametric MRIs meant 30% could avoid prostate biopsies, improved significant prostate cancer diagnosis by 11%, and reduced insignificant prostate cancer diagnosis by 40% compared to our current diagnostic approach – standard biopsies for all men with clinically suspicion of prostate cancer.  Continue reading

MRI-Guided Prostate Biopsy Improves Precision Diagnosis of Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Veeru Kasivisvanathan MBBS BSc MRCS MSc PGCert Lead for CPD, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, UCL Academic Section Committee, British Association of Urological Surgeons Twitter: @veerukasi PRECISION Study Coordinator https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02380027  

Dr. Kasivisvanathan

Veeru Kasivisvanathan MBBS BSc MRCS MSc PGCert
Lead for CPD, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, UCL
Academic Section Committee, British Association of Urological Surgeons
Twitter: @veerukasi
PRECISION Study Coordinator
https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02380027  

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

  • We knew that there were limitations in the standard of care pathway for the diagnosis of prostate cancer, TRUS biopsy which missed harmful cancers and over diagnosed harmless cancers.
  • Emerging reports in the literature showed that using an alternative diagnostic pathway, MRI and MRI-targeted biopsy, showed promising prostate cancer detection rates
  • In 2012 we set out in an international working group to design a study that could change clinical practice and replace the standard of care with a pathway involving MRI 

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Modeling Intelligence As Ability To Access Multiple Brain States

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Glenn N. Saxe, MD Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry  Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Child Study Center, One Park Avenue New York, NY 10016

Dr. Saxe

Glenn N. Saxe, MD
Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Child Study Center, One Park Avenue
New York, NY 10016 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by brain entropy and how it relates to intelligence?

Response: Think of human intelligence as the capacity for a human being to understand their complex and ever-changing world. The world of a person is really complex and constantly in flux so the human brain must be ready to understand whatever may come – when there is no way beforehand to predict what might come. How does the brain understand its world? It creates specific models of the information it receives through specific patterns of neuronal connection. These are called brain states. The way the brain understands its world is largely through using such models, or brain states, to accurately predict what comes next. So you can see that for an intelligent brain to properly understand and predict events in the world, it will need to have access to a very, very large number of brain states. And this is how entropy is defined.

Entropy is a very old and very powerful concept in the history of science. Not only is it fundamental for thermodynamics – what we learned in high school physics – but it is also fundamental for the nature of information and it’s processing. Entropy is defined as the number of states – or distinct configurations – any system has access to at any point in time. High entropy means access to a very large number of states. Low entropy means access to a very small number of states. A solid is a phenomenon with very low entropy. A gas is a phenomenon with very high entropy. Life, and the brain, are somewhere in between.

Although it is impossible to precisely measure the number of states a brain has access to at any one moment, there is a highly related concept that can be measured. A system with access to a very high number of possible states (like a gas) has components with behavior that is highly unpredictable. A system with access to very few possible states (like a solid) has components whose behavior is highly predictable. We measured brain entropy through the predictability of the brains components at the smallest scale we had access to: what are called voxels in an fMRI scan. These are 3mm cubes of neurons in a functional MRI scan, and there are many thousands of these voxels in our measurement and each of these voxels contains information on the activity of hundreds of thousands of neurons. We measured the predictability of each of these voxels and then found clusters of voxels where their predictability – or entropy – was related to intelligence.

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Multiple Sclerosis: Functional Changes After Inflammation May Partly Explain Clinico-Radiological Paradox

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Netta Levin MD PhD
fMRI lab
Neurology Department
Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center
Jerusalem 

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

Response: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, manifesting with episodes of local inflammatory processes, called relapses. The most useful surrogate laboratory test for MS is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), in which dissemination of demyelinating lesions in space and time are the hallmark of the disease. However, there is a discrepancy between the lesion load – the number, size, and location of the lesions – and the clinical state of the patients, reflected in their disability. This discrepancy is known as the “clinico-radiological paradox” and suggests that something other than the well-known mechanisms of demyelination, remyelination, and axonal loss may tip the scale of recovery from an acute episode. Global effects of the local damage and compensatory mechanisms were suggested as an explanation to this paradox.

In this study, we compared the visual system of patients with clinically isolated syndrome optic neuritis (ON) to patients with clinically isolated episodes in other functional systems, exploring changes, both anatomical and functional, caused to the system following the demyelinating episode. Optic neuritis was deemed a good in vivo model for studying the pathophysiology of tissue damage and repair in MS due to its characteristic clinical manifestation and to the visual pathways’ amenability to investigation using various techniques. To assess anatomical wiring ,i.e the white matter fibers themselves , we used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). To assess functional networking as reflected by signal synchronization between distinct brain regions, we used resting state fMRI.

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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 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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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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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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MRI Can Better Diagnose Fetal Brain Abnormalities in-Utero

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof Paul D Griffiths, FRCR and

Cara Mooney, Study Manager: MERIDIAN
Clinical Trials Research Unit
The University of Sheffield 

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

Response: Around three in every 1000 pregnancies is complicated by a fetal abnormality. In the UK Ultrasonography (USS) has, for many years, been the mainstay of antenatal screening and detailed anomaly scanning to detect such abnormalities.  However previous studies have suggested that in utero Magnetic Resonance (iuMR) imaging may be a useful adjunct to USS for detecting these brain abnormalities in the developing fetus.

This study was designed to test the diagnostic accuracy and clinical impact of introducing fetal MR in to the diagnostic pathway.

Our results show that iuMR has an overall diagnostic accuracy of 93% compared to ultrasound at 68%, this is an increase in diagnostic accuracy of 25%. When divided into gestational age group the improvement in diagnostic accuracy ranged from 23% in the 18-23 week group, and 29% in the 24 week and over group.

IuMR provided additional diagnostic information in 49% of cases, changed prognostic information in at least 20% and the contribution to clinical management was felt to be at least ‘significant’ in 35% of cases. IuMR also had high patient acceptability with at least 95% of women stating that they would have an iuMR if a future pregnancy were complicated by a fetal brain abnormality.

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Cerebral Perfusion Is Perturbed by Preterm Birth and Brain Injury

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Eman S. Mahdi, MD, MBChB
Pediatric Radiology Fellow

Catherine Limperopoulos, PhD Director, Developing Brain Research Laboratory Co-Director of Research, Division of Neonatology Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology Children’s National Health System Washington, DC

Dr. Catherine Limperopoulos

Catherine Limperopoulos, PhD
Director, Developing Brain Research Laboratory
Co-Director of Research, Division of Neonatology
Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology
Children’s National Health System
Washington, DC

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

Response: Premature birth is a major public health concern in the United States affecting 1 in 10 infants each year. Prematurity-related brain injury is very common and associated with a high prevalence of brain injury and accompanying lifelong neurodevelopmental morbidities.

Early disturbances in systemic and cerebral hemodynamics are thought to mediate prematurity-related brain injury. The extent to which cerebral blood flow (CBF) is disturbed in preterm birth is poorly understood, in large part because of the lack of monitoring techniques that can directly and non-invasively measure cerebral blood flow.

We report for the first time early disturbances in global and regional cerebral blood flow in preterm infants following brain injury on conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) over the third trimester of ex-uterine life using arterial spin labelling images. In terms of regional differences, we saw a marked decrease in blood flow to the thalamus and the pons, regions known to be metabolically active during this time.

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Virtual Reality Systems Can Generate Immersive 3D Images of Fetuses

Close-up of fetus at 26 weeks RSNA16

Close-up of fetus at 26 weeks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Heron Werner Junior
Clínica de Diagnóstico por Imagem – CDPI
Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

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

Response: A growing number of technological advancements in obtaining and viewing images through noninvasive techniques have brought major breakthroughs in fetal medicine.

In general, two main technologies are used to obtain images within the uterus during pregnancy i.e. ultrasound (US) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

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Brain Scans Can Predict Specific Spontaneous Emotions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kevin S. LaBar, Ph.D. Professor and Head, Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience Program Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies in Neuroscience Center for Cognitive Neuroscience Duke University Durham, NC

Dr. Kevin LaBar

Kevin S. LaBar, Ph.D.
Professor and Head, Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience Program
Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies in Neuroscience
Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
Duke University
Durham, NC

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

Response: Emotion research is limited by a lack of objective markers of emotional states. Most human research relies on self-report, but individuals may not have good insight into their own emotions. We have developed a new way to identify emotional states using brain imaging and machine learning tools. First, we induced emotional states using film and music clips while individuals were in an MRI scanner. We trained a computer algorithm to identify the brain areas that distinguished 7 emotions from each other (fear, anger, surprise, sadness, amusement, contentment, and a neutral state). This procedure created a brain map for each of the 7 emotions. Then, a new group of participants self-reported their emotional state every 30 seconds in an MRI scanner while no stimuli were presented. We could predict which emotion was spontaneously reported by the subjects by comparing their brain scans to each of the 7 emotion maps. Finally, in a large group of 499 subjects, we found that the presence of the fear map during rest predicted state and trait anxiety while the presence of the sadness map predicted state and trait depression.

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MRI Not Always Better Than Regular X Rays For Knee Pain Evaluation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Muyibat-Adelani.jpg

Dr. Muyibat Adelani

Muyibat Adelani, MD
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Washington University
St. Louis

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

Response: In our practice, we noticed that more patients are coming in already having had MRIs. We wanted to know how many people actually had weight-bearing knee x-rays before the MRI. We found that only a quarter of patients had weight-bearing x-rays before the MRI. We found that half of the MRIs obtained prior to referral to an orthopaedic surgeon did not contribute to the patient’s treatment.

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MRI Generally Safe For Fetus in First Trimester, But Gadolinium Should Be Avoided Unless Strongly Indicated

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Joel G. Ray MD, MS, FRCPC

Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto
Professor Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
St. Michael’s Hospital

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

Response: We have little information about the fetal safety to of MRI in the first trimester of pregnancy, or that of MRI with gadolinium contrast performed at any point in pregnancy.

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Risk of Background Changes on Breast MRI Reexamined

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Barbara Bennani-Baiti, MD, MS

Dr. Bennani-Baiti

Barbara Bennani-Baiti, MD, MS and

Pascal Andreas Baltzer MD

Dr. P. Baltzer

Pascal Andreas Baltzer MD
Departement of Biomedical Imaging and Nuclear Medicine
Medical University of Vienna
Vienna, Austria

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

Response: Breast MRI ist the most sensitive method for detecting breast cancer. It is currently routinely used in the screening of high-risk patients and as an additional imaging technique in case of inconclusive conventional imaging (mammography and ultrasound).

Besides its high sensitivity for detection of breast cancer, breast MRI further provides functional information about normal breast tissue perfusion. Background parenchymal enhancement (BPE) reflects the perfusion or vascularization of the breast and is generally higher in active breast tissue. High-risk patients harbor breast tissue that is at an elevated risk for breast cancer due to several factors (i.e. mutations such as BRCA1, high familial risk, previous radiation of the chest wall, etc.). After a connection between increased breast cancer odds and elevated BPE has been shown in high-risk patients, the community has since assumed that an elevated background enhancement at breast MRI equates an elevated risk for breast cancer for all women. We have shown that this not true for women that are not considered high-risk. In fact, the only risk factor for women undergoing breast MRI without additional risk factors is age.

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Analysis of Multiple MRI and PET Images Detects Earliest Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Yasser Iturria Medina PhD Post-doctoral fellow Montreal Neurological Institute

Dr. Y. M. Medina

Dr. Yasser Iturria Medina PhD
Post-doctoral fellow
Montreal Neurological Institute

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

Response: We used over 200 peripheral molecular biomarkers, five different neuroimaging modalities and cognitive/clinical measurements to detect spatiotemporal abnormalities in subjects with dementia or with mild signs of cognitive deterioration. By means of a mathematical framework, we reordered all the biomarkers/descriptors considered, according to how much they change during the disease process. The results suggested that, contrary as suggested by more traditional clinical analyses, there are multiple early signs of neurodegeneration, at the molecular level and at the brain’s macroscopic and cognitive state. In particular, we observed notable early signs of generalized vascular dysregulation, which may be supporting the vascular hypothesis of Alzheimer’s disease. However, we still need to perform deeper analyzes, in order to clarify the complex causal mechanisms that trigger the disease.

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No Increased Risk of Parkinson’s From MRI Gadolinium Exposure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Blayne Welk, MD, MSc,FRCSC Assistant Professor of Surgery Western University London, Canada

Dr. Blayne Welk

Blayne Welk, MD, MSc,FRCSC
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Western University
London, Canada

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

Response: Prior research has demonstrated that gadolinium, which may be used during MRI scans to help visualise the body organs, can be deposited in the body, and remain there for years. The US FDA released a notice last year stating that further research was needed to evaluate the clinical implications of these brain deposits. One of the areas that gadolinium is deposited is the brain, specifically in two regions which control voluntary movement (the globus pallidus and dentate nucleus). Damage to these areas could cause symptoms of Parkinsonism. We used administrative data from Ontario, Canada to evaluate whether people who underwent MRI scans with gadolinium had a higher risk of developing Parkinsonism in the future. In this study, we did not demonstrate an increased risk of Parkinsonism in patients exposed to gadolinium.

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MRI Brain Scans Can Predict Disruption of Blood-Brain Barrier in Stroke Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Richard Leigh MD Neuro Vascular Brain Imaging Unit National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Dr. Richard Leigh

Dr. Richard Leigh MD
Neuro Vascular Brain Imaging Unit
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

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

Response: Patients who suffer an ischemic stroke have limited treatment options. One of the reasons for this is that our treatments can sometimes make the stroke worse by transforming the ischemic stroke into a hemorrhagic stroke. In our study we identified a new piece of information that we can extract from the patient’s MRI scan that informs us on the risk of having a hemorrhage.

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Alterations in Brain Matter Loss and Gain Identified in Schizophrenia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lena Palaniyappan Medical Director Prevention & Early Intervention Program for Psychoses (PEPP) London, Ontario

Dr. Lena Palaniyappan

Lena Palaniyappan
Medical Director
Prevention & Early Intervention Program for Psychoses (PEPP)
London, Ontario

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

Response: It is now well established that patients with schizophrenia show reduced thickness of brain’s grey matter in Magnetic Resonance Imaging studies, indicating either a developmental or an acquired deficit in the amount of brain tissue. Such reductions are seen both in treated and untreated patients, suggesting that current treatments do not reverse the process of tissue loss, if at all this is occurring in patients. We wanted to study if subtle increase in brain tissue also accompanied this reduction. We observed that across the group of 98 medicated patients, reduced thickness was consistently accompanied by subtle, but nevertheless noticeable increases in thickness. Such increases were more pronounced in those with a longer duration of illness.

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Patient Motion During MRI Scanning Can Lead To Significant Added Costs

Jalal B. Andre, MDDirector of Neurological MRI Harborview Medical Center Assistant Professor of Radiology University of Washington Seattle, WA  98195-7115MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jalal B. Andre, MD
Director of Neurological MRI
Harborview Medical Center
Assistant Professor of Radiology
University of Washington
Seattle, WA  98195-7115

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Andre: Patient motion during clinical magnetic resonance (MR) examinations occurs frequently, can result in artifacts that degrade image quality, and has the potential to mask underlying pathology and affect patient care.  Surprisingly, the frequency of motion artifacts in clinical MR examinations has been poorly documented in the literature, as has been the cost associated with obtaining such exams, specifically those that do not meet diagnostic criteria. To better quantify these observations, we performed a retrospective study evaluating the prevalence of motion artifacts during a randomly selected week of clinical MR examinations.

We devised a graded 5-tier scale to quantify patient motion, which incorporated the potential for clinical impact  Using this scale, two neuroradiologists performed a consensus evaluation at a picture archiving and communication system station of 192 MR examinations performed during a single calendar week.  This evaluation revealed that significant motion artifact (defined as artifact that could impact image interpretation and potentially change diagnosis) was present in 7.5% of outpatient and nearly 30% of inpatient and/or emergency department MR examinations, and that repeated sequences (subcomponents of an MR examination) were present in nearly 20% of completed MR examinations.  In addition, we found that the specific imaged body part was less predictive of subsequent patient motion than was patient disposition (if they were imaged as a hospital inpatient and/or emergency department patient).  Using a base-case cost estimate derived from fiscal year 2012 outpatient Medicare reimbursement rates and institutional cost estimates, our analysis suggested that a potential cost of $592 per hour could be lost in hospital revenue secondary to patient motion. Extrapolated over a calendar year, the cost of patient motion (as potential forgone institutional revenue) approached $115,000 per scanner per year. Continue reading

Hospital System Efficiently Uses MRI To Screen For Stroke and Shorten Treatment Window

Amie W. Hsia, MD Medical Director, Comprehensive Stroke Center MedStar Washington Hospital Center NIH Stroke Program at MWHC Associate Professor, Neurology Georgetown University Washington, DC 20010MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Amie W. Hsia, MD
Medical Director, Comprehensive Stroke Center
MedStar Washington Hospital Center
NIH Stroke Program at MWHC
Associate Professor, Neurology
Georgetown University Washington, DC 20010

 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Hsia: Acute stroke is a common presenting problem in the emergency department. We know that “time is brain” and that for patients experiencing an ischemic or “blockage” type of stroke, the most common type, the sooner we can administer tPA, a clot-busting medication and the only FDA-approved medication to treat acute stroke, the better chance for a good outcome. Therefore, there is a goal national benchmark time of administering the drug to appropriate acute stroke patients within 60 minutes of their arrival to the emergency department. There are many steps that are necessary in the evaluation of an acute stroke patient in the emergency department before tPA can be given. This includes a brain scan to make sure a patient is not having the less common bleeding type of stroke. A CT or “CAT” scan is the typical type of brain scan that is performed in emergency departments across the country and the world to screen a patient before giving tPA. The primary purpose of the CT scan is to exclude bleeding; it is difficult to visualize an early stroke on CT. Though an MRI can give more complete information including showing the stroke as it is happening in these first few hours and though most hospitals have an MRI scanner, an MRI takes longer to perform and has not traditionally been used in an emergency setting.

At the two hospitals included in this study, MedStar Washington Hospital Center in D.C. and Suburban Hospital in Maryland, we are fortunate to serve as the sites for the NINDS intramural stroke clinical research program and use MRI routinely to screen acute stroke patients to learn more about stroke and develop new treatments for stroke. It is upon this foundation that we performed independent hospital-wide quality improvement initiatives engaging multidisciplinary committees with leadership from all the departments involved in the care of the acute stroke patient in that critical first 60 minutes. Inspired by our colleagues at Washington University in St. Louis led by Dr. Andria Ford who used similar methods in reducing treatment times with CT screening, we used lean manufacturing principles to streamline our processes that include MRI screening and dramatically reduced our treatment times from a baseline of 93 minutes down to 55 minutes while still maintaining safety. Through these efficiency improvements, we were able to achieve a 4-fold increase in the percentage of stroke patients treated with tPA within 60 minutes.
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Specialized MRI May Predict Early Cognitive Decline

Sven Haller, M.D. University of Geneva in Geneva, Switzerland.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sven Haller, M.D.
University of Geneva in Geneva, Switzerland.

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Haller: The main finding is that some elderly individuals with intact cognitive function at baseline already have visible alterations of the brain perfusion measured in Arterial Spin Labeling (ASL)  MRI, which is similar to patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This elderly individual may initially maintain intact cognitive functions due to the activation of their cognitive reserve, yet eventually the cognitive reserve is exhausted and those individuals develop subtle cognitive decline at follow-up 18 months later.

Consequently, Arterial Spin Labeling MRI may predict the very earliest form of cognitive decline.

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MRI Findings as Surrogate Markers for Brain Microinfarcts

Kejal Kantarci, M.D. M.S. Professor of Radiology Division of Neuroradiology Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905 MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kejal Kantarci, M.D. M.S.
Professor of Radiology
Division of Neuroradiology
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Kantarci: Microinfarcts are one of the most common pathologies identified in the brains of older individuals and they impact cognition. However they are invisible lesions on MRI. We demonstrated that presence of microinfarcts in autopsied individuals are associated with the macroinfarcts identified on their MRI scans than they were alive. We also demonstrated that the presence of these invisible lesions are related to greater brain atrophy rates that are localized to watershed zones.
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