A new MRI technique could help spot MS earlier

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Written by Cara Murez
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, January 7, 2022 (HealthDay News) – Researchers in Austria say new MRI The technique can lead to faster diagnosis and treatment for people with Multiple sclerosis.

The technique can detect biochemical changes in the brains of people with MS in the early stages of their disease, according to findings published Jan. 4 in the journal Radiology.

“MRI neurochemicals allow the detection of changes in the brains of patients with multiple sclerosis in regions that appear inconspicuous on conventional magnetic resonance imaging,” said senior study author Wolfgang Bogner, of the High Field MR Center at the Medical University of Vienna. “Visualized changes in normal-looking neurochemistry brain tissues correlated with patient disability. “

MS, disease of central nervous system, affects nearly 3 million people worldwide. There is no cure and it can cause fatigue, pain and impaired coordination. Physical therapy and medications can slow its progression.

Currently, MS can be detected in lesions in the white matter of the brain on standard magnetic resonance imaging. These lesions are associated with the loss of the protective coating around nerve fibers known as myelin. This tissue damage is visible to the naked eye, but it would be better to find the damage when it is still microscopic or in the biochemical phase.

An advanced imaging technique, called proton MR spectroscopy, can detect substances that form during metabolism which have potential importance for MS, researchers say.

They used this to compare the biochemical changes in the brains of 65 people with MS with those of 20 healthy people. They used an MRI scanner with a strong 7 Tesla (T) magnet.

The team found reduced levels of an amino acids a derivative called N-acetylaspartate (NAA) in patients with MS. Lower NAA levels are associated with impaired integrity of neurons in the brain.

People with MS also showed elevated levels of myo-inositol (MI), a compound involved in cell signaling. Higher levels may indicate significant inflammatory disease activity.

The researchers said the results show the potential role of a new MRI technique in visualizing MS pathology outside of it demyelinating lesions.

“Some neurochemical changes, especially those associated with neuroinflammation, occur in the early stages of the disease and may not only correlate with disability, but may also predict further progression such as the formation of multiple sclerosis lesions,” said study leader Eva Heckova. from the High Field MR Center. She said the changes revealed by this new imaging technique could have significant clinical application.

However, more work is needed to confirm the results.

“If confirmed in longitudinal clinical studies, this new neuroimaging technique could become a standard imaging tool for initial diagnosis, disease progression and follow-up therapy for multiple sclerosis patients and, according to established MRI, could contribute to neurologist treatment strategies,” Bogner it was said in a press release.

More information

The American National Library of Medicine has more on that Multiple sclerosis.

SOURCE: North American Radiological Society, press release, January 4, 2022.

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