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DVIDS - News - USU Advances Traumatic Brain Injury Research with Cutting-Edge MRI Technology

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) – more commonly known as concussion – has been called the “significant injury” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, resulting in mission injuries from blast exposure or car crashes. Associated injuries affect a significant number of military personnel. These mTBIs may not be life-threatening, but they can cause a variety of symptoms that can affect a person’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, learning, and sleep. In some patients, these symptoms may even become chronic.

Unfortunately, current clinical MRI systems cannot readily image brain microstructure with sufficient detail to diagnose subtle changes associated with mTBI. As a result, current medical research does not fully understand the causes of these conditions that affect millions of people in the United States.

That’s where the University of Uniform Service (USU) comes in.

Given the scope of the problem, a high-level USU research team received funding from a Department of Defense (DoD) grant and in collaboration with GE Research, a new imaging study for the characterization of the underlying pathophysiology of mTBI. investigated biomarkers. – High-performance microstructural anatomical gradients for neuroimaging using ultrafast scanning (MAGNUS) MRI systems. MAGNUS will allow researchers to study the brains of military and civilians who have recently experienced mTBI.

Dr. Vincent Ho, Professor and Chair of USU’s Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, leads USU’s research efforts. Ho is also Chief of Research in the Department of Radiology at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC). His GE Research portion of the work is led by Dr. Thomas Foo, principal scientist in GE’s Biology and Applied Physics group.

In March 2020, USU/WRNMMC became the first site with a MAGNUS research system after installing an ultra-high performance gradient coil insert into a GE 3.0 Tesla clinical MRI scanner. Current clinical MRI systems cannot readily image brain microstructure with sufficient detail to diagnose subtle changes associated with mTBI.

MAGNUS offers much higher gradient strengths and slew rates (per unit time changes in voltage or other electrical quantity). MRI scanners typically offer up to 80 mT/m and 200 T/m/s, with notable differences. This is useful for detailed ultrastructural imaging in the mTBI setting and in Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, or other neuropsychiatric disorders.

Army Colonel (Dr.) Robert Shih – Assistant Professor and Vice Chair of USU’s Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences and Director of Neuroradiology and MRI at WRNMMC – collaborated with a team of USU researchers to utilize the MAGNUS MRI doing. A system for image data acquisition and analysis. Shih and his team believe MAGNUS will make a big difference in his mTBI research.

“When you image with a conventional CT or MRI scanner, you can’t detect any abnormal findings,” Shih explains. [with most concussion patients]Our hypothesis is that the high-resolution diffusion imaging enabled by MAGNUS’ ultra-high performance gradients can detect microscopic white matter damage that explains the patient’s symptoms. ”

Shih says working on this research will provide his team with a unique and exciting opportunity to take advantage of cutting-edge technology, which is what drove them to do this research. It is certainly not the only reason.

“Our research team at USU is motivated by two things,” Shih explains. “Patients first. We want to help patients and clinicians better understand what is happening with concussions, which can lead to better management strategies.”

Continued research into the mechanisms of mTBI may clarify many of the mysteries surrounding the causes of the condition that affects millions of Americans, leading to more effective diagnosis, management, and treatment.

“Second is the love of technology and all the amazing advances we have seen in radiology over the past few decades, many of which are now taken for granted. Working with GE Research will help us push the boundaries of performance at USU.”

Acquired data: 2022.09.13
Posted on: Sep 16, 2022 10:19
Story ID: 429461
position: we

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