New Brain Imaging Software May Help Guide Treatment for MS Patients
Feeling overwhelmingly tired, feeling off balance, having trouble concentrating and blurred vision. An estimated 2.3 million people are living with Multiple Sclerosis and experience some or all of these symptoms every day according to the MS Society. There are promising new drugs and treatments being developed for MS – and CDI has joined the battle by incorporating new brain imaging software that measures brain volume to provide critical information in the fight against MS.
How well is my treatment working?
People living with MS are no stranger to MRIs, as the imaging helps their doctors track the development of the disease and guide treatment options. A key indicator used to help track MS is brain volume – with the loss of brain volume being a key indicator in tracking the progression of the disease. CDI is now able to quantify and track brain volume more precisely with NeuroQuant – new software that processes the MRI images to measure brain volume.
Dr. Angela Dagirmanjian, a neuroradiologist at Insight Imaging (part of the CDI network), started processing brain scans for doctors using the NeuroQuant software about a year ago.
“It is exciting because it is fully automated. With NeuroQuant, you don’t need … a team of physicists to process the data.”
Here’s how it works: The patient’s MRI scan process remains the same, but the technologist running the scan collects a special sequence or set of images. After the scan, the technologist sends those images to NeuroQuant. In less than ten minutes, NeuroQuant processes the images and provides a measurement of brain volume. The radiologist also gets a comparative report of the patient’s brain volume against a database indicating normal brain ranges.
Dr. Dagirmanjian works with a number of doctors in the Phoenix area who treat MS patients.
Does brain volume measurement hold promise for patients with other conditions?
Beyond helping guide treatments for MS patients, the brain volume software can help assess neurological conditions and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Epilepsy, and TBI (traumatic brain injury). Dr. Dagirmanjian is in the early stages of working with a Phoenix doctor who treats dementia patients. Together they are testing the brain volume technology to measure changes in the brains of dementia patients.
While it’s still early to say exactly how useful in helping guide a dementia treatment plan, Dr. Dagirmanjian sees promise.
Patients living with Epilepsy can also benefit from using brain volume data to help guide treatment. A recent study reported in the American Journal of Radiology found the automated technique and the human eye of a neuroradiologist to both be effective in measuring the difference in brain volumes, underscoring the importance of these tools in the specialized hands of the neuroradiologist.
Dr. Dagirmanjian says she’ll continue to work with doctors to use it for patients because it shows promise.
If I have MS or MS symptoms, what does this mean for me?
Talk to your doctor. A brain MRI exam is the recognized test in diagnosing MS. The additional information provided by brain volume imaging software, like NeuroQuant, helps show quantitatively how your brain volumes measure up against other healthy individuals of your age and can be very useful in guiding treatment options.
Ask your doctor about a brain MRI with volume imaging to see if it may be an appropriate next step in your care.