Tensor Diffusion MRI

In the second study from Duke University Medical Center, tensor diffusion MRI showed abnormalities around MS plaques seen on conventional MRI, suggesting more accurate assessment of disease burden.

"Tensor diffusion imaging is a form of MR imaging that [measures] the rate and direction of water particles in the white matter structures of the brain," says lead author James Provenzale, MD. "Tensor imaging is allowing us to more accurately detect abnormalities in MS patients, which may allow us to diagnose the disease before the patient has any symptoms; early detection can mean earlier treatment."

Standard MR images do not necessarily correlate well with the patient's actual condition, Provenzale says, because the images may be normal until the patient has advanced disease. Tensor diffusion MRI shows abnormalities that are more extensive and in different regions.

Provenzale predicts that tensor diffusion MRI will eventually help detect degenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, in the earliest stages when treatment is most effective. Currently, his group uses it in Krabbe's disease with good results.

"If we scan patients at risk for the disease within the first month of life, and begin treatment immediately, their brains remain more similar to those of normal children than those infants treated later," he says.

AARS Annual Meeting. April 29-30, 2002.






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