News | November 09, 2011

First Use of High-Field MRI in Developing Brain Reveals Previously Undetectable Injuries

November 9, 2011 – Pediatric neuroscientists at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital are the first to use high-magnetic-field-strength magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to reveal tiny white matter injuries in the developing brain previously undetectable using standard MRI.

Early, accurate identification of these lesions in the preterm human infant could prevent delays in therapy and enable physicians to inform families sooner of the potential for complications. The team’s findings are published in the Annals of Neurology.

White matter injury is the most common cause of chronic neurologic disability in children with cerebral palsy, explained principal investigator Stephen Back, M.D., Ph.D., but babies with cerebral palsy often have MRIs that miss injury, which creates significant challenges, including delayed treatment intervention and rehabilitation.

“Until now there hasn’t been a compelling reason to put preterm babies into a high-field MRI scanner. Our work indicates the magnetic field strength of current clinical MRI may be a limiting factor to detecting some white matter lesions in the preterm infant. Now that we can detect this injury, we also hope our findings may encourage MRI researchers to find more sensitive means to detect this injury with lower field MRIs that are widely available,” said Back, an associate professor of pediatrics and neurology in the Papé Family Pediatric Research Institute at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

High-field MRI scanners are still mostly used as a research tool and not widely available outside of specialized MRI research centers like OHSU, Back added.

White matter injury occurs during brain development when nerve fibers are actively being wrapped in myelin, the insulation that allows nerve fibers to rapidly transmit signals in the brain. The cells required to make myelin can be easily destroyed when blood flow to the developing brain falls below normal or when maternal infection occurs during pregnancy. The loss of these cells disrupts brain maturation and results in failure to make the myelin required for normal brain function.

Preterm infants are particularly susceptible to these injuries, which can result in lifelong impairments, including inability to walk as well as intellectual challenges.

In this study, using high-field MRI (12-Tesla), Back and colleagues were able to identify tiny brain lesions in preterm fetal sheep with characteristics previously unseen and unreported using a standard 3-T MRI. Prior to this study, progress to developing treatments for white matter injury in the preterm infant had been hampered by clinicians’ inability to see these microscopic injuries, and just one tiny lesion can have a tremendous impact on the patient’s ability to walk and learn.

“Our findings support the potential of using high-field MRI for early identification, improved diagnosis and prognosis of white matter injury in the preterm infant, and our large preclinical animal model provides unique experimental access to questions directed at the cause of these lesions, as well as the optimal field strength and modality to resolve evolving lesions using MRI,” said Back.

Future studies are needed to determine the clinical-translational utility of high-field MRI, Back added.

The study was funded by a Javits Award from the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS), a branch of the National Institutes of Health; the American Heart Association; and the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.

OHSU investigators who contributed to this study include: Art Riddle, Ph.D.; Justin Dean, Ph.D.; Joshua Buser; Xi Gong, M.D.; Jennifer Maire; Kevin Chen; Tahir Ahmad; Victor Cai; Thuan Nguyen, Ph.D.; Christopher D. Kroenke, Ph.D.; and A. Roger Hohimer, Ph.D.

For more information: Stephen Back Lab

 

Related Content

Stereotactic Radiosurgery Effective for Pediatric Arteriovenous Malformation Patients
News | Radiation Therapy | April 19, 2019
Ching-Jen Chen, M.D., of the neurosurgery department at the University of Virginia (UVA) Health System, was the winner...
Video Plus Brochure Helps Patients Make Lung Cancer Scan Decision

Image courtesy of the American Thoracic Society

News | Lung Cancer | April 19, 2019
A short video describing the potential benefits and risks of low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening for lung...
Artificial Intelligence Performs As Well As Experienced Radiologists in Detecting Prostate Cancer
News | Artificial Intelligence | April 18, 2019
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have developed a new artificial intelligence (AI) system to...
Surgically Guided Brachytherapy Improves Outcomes for Intracranial Neoplasms
News | Brachytherapy Systems | April 18, 2019
Peter Nakaji, M.D., FAANS, general practice neurosurgeon at Barrow Neurological Institute, presented new research on...
Check-Cap Initiates U.S. Pilot Study of C-Scan for Colorectal Cancer Screening
News | Colonoscopy Systems | April 15, 2019
Check-Cap Ltd. has initiated its U.S. pilot study of the C-Scan system for prevention of colorectal cancer through...
A smart algorithm has been trained on a neural network to recognize the appearance of breast cancer in MR images

A smart algorithm has been trained on a neural network to recognize the appearance of breast cancer in MR images. The algorithm, described at the SBI/ACR Breast Imaging Symposium, used “Deep Learning,“ a form of machine learning, which is a type of artificial intelligence. Graphic courtesy of Sarah Eskreis-Winkler, M.D.

Feature | Artificial Intelligence | April 12, 2019 | By Greg Freiherr
The use of smart algorithms has the potential to make healthcare more efficient.
Deep Lens Closes Series A Financing for Digital AI Pathology Platform
News | Digital Pathology | April 09, 2019
Digital pathology company Deep Lens Inc. announced the closing of a $14 million Series A financing that will further...
Uterine Fibroid Embolization Safer and as Effective as Surgical Treatment
News | Interventional Radiology | April 05, 2019
Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) effectively treats uterine fibroids with fewer post-procedure complications compared...
Videos | RSNA | April 03, 2019
ITN Editor Dave Fornell takes a tour of some of the most interesting new medical imaging technologies displa
News | Biopsy Systems | March 29, 2019
Dune Medical Devices has just completed the first in-man cases for Smart Biopsy, its percutaneous soft tissue biopsy...