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Concept: Diffusion MRI


The medical decision of return to play (RTP) after a sport concussion is largely based on symptom status following a graded exercise protocol. However, it is currently unknown how objective markers of brain structure and function relate to clinical recovery. The goal of this study was to determine whether differences in brain structure and function at acute injury remain present at RTP. In this longitudinal study, 54 active varsity athletes were scanned using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), including 27 with recent concussion, imaged at both acute injury and medical clearance, along with 27 matched controls. Diffusion tensor imaging was used to measure fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) of white matter and resting-state functional MRI was used to measure global functional connectivity (Gconn). At acute injury, concussed athletes had reduced FA and increased MD, along with elevated Gconn; these effects remained present at RTP. Athletes who took longer to reach RTP also showed elevated Gconn in dorsal brain regions, but no significant white matter effects. This study presents the first evidence of altered brain structure and function at the time of medical clearance to RTP, with greater changes in brain function for athletes with a longer recovery time.

Concepts: Brain, Medical imaging, Neuroimaging, Brain tumor, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Radiology, Diffusion MRI


The objective of this study is to estimate the value of diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) in the detection of abnormalities in sacroiliac joints in the patients with early ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and investigate the feasibility of whole-body DWI (WB-DWI) in systemic evaluation of AS. Sixteen patients with early AS, 18 patients with simple low back pain (LBP), and 18 healthy volunteers were involved in this study. All subjects underwent conventional MRI and DWI. Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) in subchondral bone marrows of sacroiliac joints was measured. Independent-sample t test was used to statistically analyze the difference of ADC values between groups. WB-DWI was performed in additional 12 patients with clinically confirmed AS. The image results were analyzed by multiple post-processing techniques, as compared to conventional MRI. In AS patients, mean ADC values were (0.494 ± 0.170) × 10(-3) mm(2)/s in sacrum and (0.513 ± 0.129) × 10(-3) mm(2)/s in ilium, which were significantly higher than those of LBP ((0.306 ± 0.057) × 10(-3) mm(2)/s in sacrum and (0.323 ± 0.083) × 10(-3) mm(2)/s in ilium) and healthy volunteers ((0.315 ± 0.009) × 10(-3) mm(2)/s in sacrum and (0.319 ± 0.012) × 10(-3) mm(2)/s in ilium). No statistical differences were found between simple LBP and healthy volunteers. Mean ADC value of multiple lesions in AS was (0.932 ± 0.299) × 10(-3) mm(2)/s. By WB-DWI, abnormal signals of sacroiliac joints and extra-sacroiliac joint lesions were demonstrated in the locations corresponding with clinical findings. Mean ADC values of multiple lesions were (1.298 ± 0.323) × 10(-3) mm(2)/s in sacrum and (1.216 ± 0.311) × 10(-3) mm(2)/s in ilium. DWI and WB-DWI were shown to be effective in differentiation and systemic evaluation of early AS. Both techniques are likely to play an importance role in the early diagnosis of AS and assessment of treatment response.

Concepts: Low back pain, Statistics, Medical imaging, Magnetic resonance imaging, Joint, Pelvis, Diffusion MRI, Sacroiliac joint


Purpose To investigate whether combining multiple magnetic resonance (MR) imaging modalities such as T1-weighted and diffusion-weighted MR imaging could reveal imaging biomarkers associated with cognition in active professional fighters. Materials and Methods Active professional fighters (n = 297; 24 women and 273 men) were recruited at one center. Sixty-two fighters (six women and 56 men) returned for a follow-up examination. Only men were included in the main analysis of the study. On the basis of computerized testing, fighters were separated into the cognitively impaired and nonimpaired groups on the basis of computerized testing. T1-weighted and diffusion-weighted imaging were performed, and volume and cortical thickness, along with diffusion-derived metrics of 20 major white matter tracts were extracted for every subject. A classifier was designed to identify imaging biomarkers related to cognitive impairment and was tested in the follow-up dataset. Results The classifier allowed identification of seven imaging biomarkers related to cognitive impairment in the cohort of active professional fighters. Areas under the curve of 0.76 and 0.69 were obtained at baseline and at follow-up, respectively, with the optimized classifier. The number of years of fighting had a significant (P = 8.8 × 10(-7)) negative association with fractional anisotropy of the forceps major (effect size [d] = 0.34) and the inferior longitudinal fasciculus (P = .03; d = 0.17). A significant difference was observed between the impaired and nonimpaired groups in the association of fractional anisotropy in the forceps major with number of fights (P = .03, d = 0.38) and years of fighting (P = 6 × 10(-8), d = 0.63). Fractional anisotropy of the inferior longitudinal fasciculus was positively associated with psychomotor speed (P = .04, d = 0.16) in nonimpaired fighters but no association was observed in impaired fighters. Conclusion Without enforcement of any a priori assumptions on the MR imaging-derived measurements and with a multivariate approach, the study revealed a set of seven imaging biomarkers that were associated with cognition in active male professional fighters. (©) RSNA, 2017 Online supplemental material is available for this article.

Concepts: Psychology, Statistical significance, Medical imaging, Cognitive psychology, Magnetic resonance imaging, Cognition, Diffusion MRI, Imaging


BACKGROUND: During the extremely challenging 4,487 km ultramarathon TransEurope-FootRace 2009, runners showed considerable reduction of body weight. The effects of this endurance run on brain volume changes but also possible formation of brain edema or new lesions were explored by repeated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies. METHODS: A total of 15 runners signed an informed consent to participate in this study of planned brain scans before, twice during, and about 8 months after the race. Because of dropouts, global gray matter volume analysis could only be performed in ten runners covering three timepoints, and in seven runners who also had a follow-up scan. Scanning was performed on three identical 1.5 T Siemens MAGNETOM Avanto scanners, two of them located at our university. The third MRI scanner with identical sequence parameters was a mobile MRI unit escorting the runners. Volumetric 3D datasets were acquired using a magnetization prepared rapid acquisition gradient echo (MPRAGE) sequence. Additionally, diffusion-weighted (DWI) and fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) imaging was performed. RESULTS: Average global gray matter volume as well as body weight significantly decreased by 6% during the race. After 8 months, gray matter volume returned to baseline as well as body weight. No new brain lesions were detected by DWI or FLAIR imaging. CONCLUSIONS: Physiological brain volume reduction during aging is less than 0.2% per year. Therefore a volume reduction of about 6% during the 2 months of extreme running appears to be substantial. The reconstitution in global volume measures after 8 months shows the process to be reversible. As possible mechanisms we discuss loss of protein, hypercortisolism and hyponatremia to account for both substantiality and reversibility of gray matter volume reductions. Reversible brain volume reduction during an ultramarathon suggests that extreme running might serve as a model to investigate possible mechanisms of transient brain volume changes. However, despite massive metabolic load, we found no new lesions in trained athletes participating in a multistage ultramarathon. See related commentary

Concepts: Brain, Medical imaging, Atom, Brain tumor, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Radiology, Diffusion MRI


OBJECTIVE: To assess the role of apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) measured with diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) in predicting and assessing response of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to transarterial chemoembolization (TACE). METHODS: Thirty-six patients with cirrhosis and untreated HCC who underwent TACE and MRI within 3 months before and after TACE were assessed. MRI included DWI and contrast-enhanced T1-weighted imaging. Two observers measured ADC of HCCs and liver parenchyma on pre- and post-TACE MRIs and measured degree of tumor necrosis on subtracted post-contrast images on post-TACE MRI. Pre-, post-TACE tumor ADC, and changes in tumor ADC (ΔADC) were compared between lesions stratified by degree of tumor necrosis (measured on post-TACE MRI). RESULTS: Forty seven HCCs were evaluated (mean size 4.4cm, range 1.0-14.1cm). HCCs with poor and incomplete response to TACE (<50% necrosis on post-TACE MRI) had significantly lower pre-treatment ADC and lower post TACE ADC compared to HCCs with good/complete response (≥50% necrosis): ADC pre-TACE 1.35±0.42 vs. 1.64±0.39×10(-3)mm(2)/s (p=0.042); post-TACE ADC 1.34±0.36 vs. 1.92±0.47 (p=0.0008). There was no difference in ΔADC values. CONCLUSION: This preliminary data suggests that pre-TACE tumor ADC can be used to predict HCC response to TACE.

Concepts: Cancer, Medical imaging, Prediction, Futurology, Magnetic resonance imaging, Assessment, Diffusion, Diffusion MRI


The aim of this study was to use intravoxel incoherent motion diffusion-weighted imaging to discriminate subtypes of renal neoplasms and to assess agreement between intravoxel incoherent motion (perfusion fraction, fp) and dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) metrics of tumor vascularity.

Concepts: Oncology, Medical imaging, Brain tumor, Anatomical pathology, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Tumor, Diffusion MRI


Prospectively assess the performance of diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) for differentiation of central lung cancer from atelectasis.

Concepts: Oncology, X-ray, Lung cancer, Medical imaging, Brain tumor, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Diffusion MRI


PURPOSE: In diffusion-weighted MRI studies of neural tissue, the classical model assumes the statistical mechanics of Brownian motion and predicts a monoexponential signal decay. However, there have been numerous reports of signal decays that are not monoexponential, particularly in the white matter. THEORY: We modeled diffusion in neural tissue from the perspective of the continuous time random walk. The characteristic diffusion decay is represented by the Mittag-Leffler function, which relaxes a priori assumptions about the governing statistics. We then used entropy as a measure of the anomalous features for the characteristic function. METHODS: Diffusion-weighted MRI experiments were performed on a fixed rat brain using an imaging spectrometer at 17.6 T with b-values arrayed up to 25,000 s/mm(2) . Additionally, we examined the impact of varying either the gradient strength, q, or mixing time, Δ, on the observed diffusion dynamics. RESULTS: In white and gray matter regions, the Mittag-Leffler and entropy parameters demonstrated new information regarding subdiffusion and produced different image contrast from that of the classical diffusion coefficient. The choice of weighting on q and Δ produced different image contrast within the regions of interest. CONCLUSION: We propose these parameters have the potential as biomarkers for morphology in neural tissue. Magn Reson Med, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Brain, Physics, Medical imaging, Magnetic resonance imaging, Diffusion, Diffusion MRI, Brownian motion, Random walk


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is often exacerbated by events that lead to secondary brain injury, and represent potentially modifiable causes of mortality and morbidity. Diffusion tensor imaging was used to characterize tissue at-risk in a group of 35 patients scanned at a median of 50 hours after injury. Injury progression was assessed in a subset of 16 patients with two scans. All contusions within the first few days of injury showed a core of restricted diffusion, surrounded by an area of raised apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC). In addition to these two well-defined regions, a thinner rim of reduced ADC was observed surrounding the region of increased ADC in 91% of patients scanned within the first 3 days after injury. In patients who underwent serial imaging, the rim of ADC hypointensity was subsumed into the high ADC region as the contusion enlarged. Overall contusion enlargement tended to be more frequent with early lesions, but its extent was unrelated to the time of initial imaging, initial contusion size, or the presence of hemostatic abnormalities. This rim of hypointensity may characterize a region of microvascular failure resulting in cytotoxic edema, and may represent a ‘traumatic penumbra’ which may be rescued by effective therapy.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 20 February 2013; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2013.11.

Concepts: Traumatic brain injury, Magnetic resonance imaging, Diffusion, Diffusion MRI, Atomic diffusion, Imaging, Cerebral blood flow, Cerebral contusion


Purpose To evaluate a radiomics model of Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) 4 and 5 breast lesions extracted from breast-tissue-optimized kurtosis magnetic resonance (MR) imaging for lesion characterization by using a sensitivity threshold similar to that of biopsy. Materials and Methods This institutional study included 222 women at two independent study sites (site 1: training set of 95 patients; mean age ± standard deviation, 58.6 years ± 6.6; 61 malignant and 34 benign lesions; site 2: independent test set of 127 patients; mean age, 58.2 years ± 6.8; 61 malignant and 66 benign lesions). All women presented with a finding suspicious for cancer at x-ray mammography (BI-RADS 4 or 5) and an indication for biopsy. Before biopsy, diffusion-weighted MR imaging (b values, 0-1500 sec/mm2) was performed by using 1.5-T imagers from different MR imaging vendors. Lesions were segmented and voxel-based kurtosis fitting adapted to account for fat signal contamination was performed. A radiomics feature model was developed by using a random forest regressor. The fixed model was tested on an independent test set. Conventional interpretations of MR imaging were also assessed for comparison. Results The radiomics feature model reduced false-positive results from 66 to 20 (specificity 70.0% [46 of 66]) at the predefined sensitivity of greater than 98.0% [60 of 61] in the independent test set, with BI-RADS 4a and 4b lesions benefiting from the analysis (specificity 74.0%, [37 of 50]; 60.0% [nine of 15]) and BI-RADS 5 lesions showing no added benefit. The model significantly improved specificity compared with the median apparent diffusion coefficient (P < .001) and apparent kurtosis coefficient (P = .02) alone. Conventional reading of dynamic contrast material-enhanced MR imaging provided sensitivity of 91.8% (56 of 61) and a specificity of 74.2% (49 of 66). Accounting for fat signal intensity during fitting significantly improved the area under the curve of the model (P = .001). Conclusion A radiomics model based on kurtosis diffusion-weighted imaging performed by using MR imaging machines from different vendors allowed for reliable differentiation between malignant and benign breast lesions in both a training and an independent test data set.©RSNA, 2018 Online supplemental material is available for this article.

Concepts: Cancer, Medical imaging, Magnetic resonance imaging, Diffusion MRI, Mean, Mammography, Standard deviation, Skewness