News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | May 23, 2016

Software to offer enhanced analysis of fMRI data for diagnosis of patients with disrupted brain circuitry

May 23, 2016 — Novarad has been working with a Provo, Utah, imaging center to create specialized processing software for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) that allows the recording and merging of about 2,000 high-quality images per study. Using the software — being developed alongside Wendell Gibby, M.D., and his staff at the Riverwoods Imaging Center in Provo, Utah — the images can then be merged into an elegant 3-D display.

Medical professionals’ understanding of brain injuries and disorders has grown by leaps and bounds in the past sixteen years. fMRI has contributed significantly to this knowledge by providing a noninvasive and safe technique for measuring and mapping brain activity.

As its name suggests, fMRI allows views of brain function or activity, whereas conventional MRI obtains anatomical images of the brain and other tissues. The advanced test can identify traumatic brain injuries and disorders even in individuals whose brains appear anatomically normal. In the case of brain trauma such as a severe concussion, for example, brain function is often inhibited without the brain showing any changes in anatomy. By using this new technology, disrupted circuits can be observed, providing solid evidence of trauma. This evidence can provide confirmation of suspected medical problems or be used as evidence in court that unseen damage has indeed occurred.

Riverwoods Imaging’s state-of-the-art fMRI boasts numerous enhancements such as motion correction, improved statistics with cubic interpolation and advanced spatial correlation correction. These and other updates to Riverwoods Imaging’s fMRI program ensure that brain activity and problems are easy to correlate, identify and diagnose.

The test covers all basic brain functions: (1) executive function (reasoning), (2) problem solving, (3) complex object recognition, (4) long-term memory, (5) short-term memory and (6) verbal fluency. While in the MRI, a patient is provided with virtual reality goggles, headphones and a button to register responses. He or she is then tested with activities and questions that activate each area associated with a brain function, and the MRI detects increased blood flow to that area. Once the test is completed, the radiologist evaluates these functions with fMRI and compares the patient’s performance to control data.

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