Contrast-Enhanced MRI’s May Better Traumatic Brain Injury Diagnosis

June 4, 2021 10:42:04

Growing public attention on the traumatic brain injuries that football players suffer while playing the sport has led to various studies on the topic being conducted. Among them is a study conducted last year and approved by the institutional review board of the Soroka University Medical Center.

The study recruited 26 nonathletes, 27 athletes who played a noncontact sport and 42 amateur American football players to participate in the study. All the participants gave their informed consent to be part of the study, with the first two groups being classified under the control group.

The investigators’ primary goal was to show the efficaciousness of an altered contrast-enhanced MRI approach that they designed to find impairments in the microvascular function in an individual’s brain.

For their study, the investigators utilized the NFL sideline concussion assessment tool to record standardized assessments of concussions, any symptoms and histories of prior head injuries They also performed scans on their participants as well as magnetic resonance (“MRI”) scans on patients with traumatic brain injuries, ischemic strokes and malignant brain tumors. The basis for this was neuropathology studies, which propose pathogenic roles for microvascular injuries and, in particular, blood-brain barrier dysfunction.

The researchers then generated maps on permeability value based on data from prolonged scans, which discovered an increase in how slow blood was transported to the brain in a subset made up of football players. However, this was not observed in age- and sex-matched controls.

The researchers explained that the increase in permeability mainly affected the temporal cortex, red nucleus, midbrain peduncles and white matter, adding that this corresponded with changes in white matter, which diffusion tensor imaging confirmed. In their report, the researchers stated that increased permeability continued for months, as observed in football players who were scanned both off- and on-season. Additionally, patient examinations demonstrated slow tracer accumulation in areas surrounding the injury, which usually display rapid blood-to-brain transport.

This was confirmed using rodent models of mice and rats that underwent repeated mild-closed head impact injuries or had vascular injuries brought about by photothrombosis. The researchers observed slow blood-to-brain transport in both models, which corresponded to the neuropathological changes triggered by the injuries suffered.

The researchers noted that their findings aligned with a prior study which demonstrated that longer scans detected low permeability values more accurately. This suggests that their contrast-enhanced MRI can be utilized in diagnosing particular microvascular pathologies after an individual has suffered a traumatic brain injury.

With the results of TBIs showing much later in life, there is added urgency in services similar to what United Medical Equipment Business Solutions Network Inc. offers, especially with regard to addressing the unique medical needs of seniors who may have developed challenges with their memory or otherwise require specialized senior care due to the long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries sustained earlier in their lives.

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