We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies. Cookie Policy.

Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us

Download Mobile App

New MRI Technique Enables Early Detection and Better Monitoring of Multiple Sclerosis

By MedImaging International staff writers
Posted on 06 Feb 2024
Print article
Image: The coils that generate the magnetic field (left) and a visualization of the entire scanner (Photo courtesy of ETH Zurich)
Image: The coils that generate the magnetic field (left) and a visualization of the entire scanner (Photo courtesy of ETH Zurich)

Multiple sclerosis (MS), a neurological condition affecting around 2.9 million people globally, often results in permanent disabilities. A defining characteristic of MS is the immune system's attack on the myelin sheaths in the central nervous system. These sheaths act as insulation for nerve fibers, similar to plastic coating on a copper wire, ensuring swift and efficient electrical impulse transmission between nerve cells. Damage or thinning of these sheaths can cause irreversible issues with vision, speech, and coordination. Until now, visualizing the myelin sheaths effectively for reliable MS diagnosis and treatment has been challenging. Now, researchers have developed a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique that can map the condition of the myelin sheaths more accurately than was previously possible.

Traditional MRI machines provide only imprecise, indirect images of the myelin sheaths, as they generally respond to water molecules in the body activated by radio waves in a strong magnetic field. The myelin sheaths, comprising mainly fatty tissue and proteins, also contain trapped water, known as myelin water. Standard MRIs form images primarily using signals from the hydrogen atoms in this myelin water, instead of directly imaging the myelin sheaths themselves. A novel MRI approach developed by researchers at ETH Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland) addresses this issue by directly measuring myelin content. This method quantifies MRI brain images to show the relative myelin presence in specific areas. For example, a value of 8 indicates that the myelin content at that spot is just 8% of the maximum possible value, signifying considerable myelin sheath thinning.

The new technique enables doctors to assess the severity and progression of MS more accurately, as darker areas and lower numbers in the image correlate with greater reduction in myelin sheaths. However, imaging the sheaths directly poses challenges because the MRI-triggered signals in the tissue are short-lived, while those from myelin water are more enduring. The procedure has been successfully trialed on healthy individuals. Going forward, this specialized MRI system, complete with a dedicated head scanner, could assist physicians in early MS detection and in tracking disease progression more effectively. This technology not only has the potential to aid in new MS drug development but could also be used to better visualize other dense tissues such as connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments.

“Overall, myelin bilayer mapping has the potential to meet the myelin monitoring needs of clinical and research communities, be it for applications in basic research, diagnosis, disease monitoring, or drug development,” concluded the researchers.

Related Links:
ETH Zurich

Gold Member
Solid State Kv/Dose Multi-Sensor
Portable X-Ray Unit
Imaging Table
Stille imagiQ2
Digital Radiography System
DuraDiagnost F30

Print article



view channel
Image: LumiGuide enables doctors to navigate through blood vessels using light instead of X-ray (Photo courtesy of Philips)

3D Human GPS Powered By Light Paves Way for Radiation-Free Minimally-Invasive Surgery

In vascular surgery, doctors frequently employ endovascular surgery techniques using tools such as guidewires and catheters, often accessing through arteries like the femoral artery. This method is known... Read more


view channel
Image: Intravascular ultrasound provides a more accurate and specific picture of the coronary arteries (Photo courtesy of 123RF)

Intravascular Imaging Significantly Improves Outcomes in Cardiovascular Stenting Procedures

Individuals with coronary artery disease, which involves plaque accumulation in the arteries leading to symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, and heart attacks, often undergo a non-surgical procedure... Read more

Nuclear Medicine

view channel
Image: The PET imaging technique can noninvasively detect active inflammation before clinical symptoms arise (Photo courtesy of 123RF)

New PET Tracer Detects Inflammatory Arthritis Before Symptoms Appear

Rheumatoid arthritis, the most common form of inflammatory arthritis, affects 18 million people globally. It is a complex autoimmune disease marked by chronic inflammation, leading to cartilage and bone... Read more

General/Advanced Imaging

view channel
Image: Routine chest CT holds untapped potential for revealing patients at risk for cardiovascular disease (Photo courtesy of Johns Hopkins)

Routine Chest CT Exams Can Identify Patients at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the primary cause of death globally. Adults without symptoms but at risk can be screened using EKG-gated coronary artery calcium (CAC) CT scans, which are crucial in assessing... Read more

Imaging IT

view channel
Image: The new Medical Imaging Suite makes healthcare imaging data more accessible, interoperable and useful (Photo courtesy of Google Cloud)

New Google Cloud Medical Imaging Suite Makes Imaging Healthcare Data More Accessible

Medical imaging is a critical tool used to diagnose patients, and there are billions of medical images scanned globally each year. Imaging data accounts for about 90% of all healthcare data1 and, until... Read more

Industry News

view channel
Image: The acquisition will expand IBA’s medical imaging quality assurance offering (Photo courtesy of Radcal)

IBA Acquires Radcal to Expand Medical Imaging Quality Assurance Offering

Ion Beam Applications S.A. (IBA, Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium), the global leader in particle accelerator technology and a world-leading provider of dosimetry and quality assurance (QA) solutions, has entered... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2024 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.