Monthly Archives: March 2013

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Migraines: The How and Why?

Are you one of the 300 million people that suffer from intense, throbbing headaches? Do they make you nauseated, sick, or sensitive to light? Migraines are not something that can be cured with an ibuprofen or a few deep breaths.

To learn what a migraine is, from a lovely British point of view, watch the short video below.

http://www.youtube.com/v/yL22X5opGhY?fs=1

Dr. Filippi and colleagues believe that migraines occur because of problems with the brain that develop over time. They used MRIs to measure the cortical regions (outer regions) of the brain, and most with migraines show atrophy related to pain processing. This is most likely due to chronic stimulation of the area.

The MRIs checked for thickness and surface abnormalities. They found that individuals with intrinsic predisposition can alter the surface area, and disease-related processes, or over-stimulation, could lead to changes in thickness.

The study is still ongoing, checking back with patients longitudinally. To read more on it, you can view the article here.

To see if you are at risk for migraines, or to cure the headaches you currently have, call the Open MRI of Pueblo at 719-404-0991 or visit our website for more information.

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MRIs Helping Alter Sports Regulations

We all watch sports and think it’s cool when something bad happens. Viewers wait for a Nascar crash and an NFL sack, but these things, even things as simple as soccer heading, can cause damage to our favorite athletes. In fact, “At least 1.6 million sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries occur in the United States annually.”

http://www.youtube.com/v/_BiUtzgWCME?fs=1

Dr. Michael Lipton and others at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University studied just how much heading is too much. They used their $3 million grant (awarded by the National Institute of Health) to find long and short term consequences.

They found that heading the ball at least 1,000 times in a year was more likely to lead to cognitive impairment and mild traumatic brain injury than players who headed less.

This serves as the basis for further research. The new study will gather 400 soccer players, male and female, and use an advanced MRI tactic to follow the participants over two years. This tactic is called diffusion tensor imaging, and some may recognize it from our previous article about helping our veterans (found here).

By completing this study, the safety guidelines for these sports can be altered to better protect its players. To read more on the topic, you can view the article here.

To schedule your own MRI, call Open MRI of Pueblo at 719-404-0991 or visit our website.

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A Big Step in Understanding Parkinson’s

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts General Hospital paired up to research just what happens to the brain during Parkinson’s disease. What they found could lead to better treatment and further research.

Tremors, stiffness, and weakness are known as the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and there’s no denying how awful this experience can be. However, research never allowed us to see into the brain to understand why these things happened. We just knew that they did.

The researches took four MRI scans, all on the same machine but with different settings, to create one combined image. This image could dive deep into the brain to see what a regular scan could not.

They found that the substantia nigra, associated with movement, was targeted first, followed by the basal forebrain, associated with memory and attention. The disease actually kills brain cells, so these structures actually shrink as the Parkinson’s progresses.

Because the severity of the known symptoms vary so much from patient to patient, these scans can help doctors see what is happening to individuals living with this disease and treat them accordingly. Do they need more dopamine or maybe acetylcholine or is their dementia going to be the biggest problem? These questions can be answered.

Once we know more about treating the symptoms, we’re one step closer to treating the cause of the disease. For more information on this research, click here.

For more MRI information in your area, call Open MRI of Pueblo at 719-404-0991 or visit our website here.

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New MRI Technique Helps Pave the Way to Help Veterans

“About 320,000 American troops have sustained traumatic brain injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

This number is shockingly high, and as doctors, we want to do everything we can to help them. That’s why a new study by Dr. David L. Brody and others at Washington University (while collaborating with Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany) worked to find how blasts affected the human brain.

The study called for a highly sensitive type of MRI, a diffusion tensor imaging. Most MRI machines have the capability, and while it doesn’t take longer/cost more, the techniques have yet to be perfected. The way it works is by measuring “the movement of water in nerve fibers in the brain, [as] abnormal flow may indicate injury.”

The study performed this new exam on 63 men who had recently suffered mild traumatic brain injuries, all of whom, with the exception of one, had normal MRI results. Eighteen of these men had nerve injury, while the researchers were only expecting two. Therefore, we now know that a negative MRI scan does not rule out brain injury.

To read more about this new study, and go more in-depth with what happens in the brain, you can get the full article here. For more information on MRIs, call the Open MRI of Pueblo at 719-404-0997 or visit www.openmripueblo.com.

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Spotted: Brain “Clean-Up Crew”

While most biological systems use the lymphatic system to remove waste, the central nervous system uses something called the glymphatic system, which “cleans the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that surround the brain and spinal cord and relies on specialized CNS support cells known as glia.”

Helene Benveniste at Stony Brook University used a fluorescent tracer in rats, and tracked it with an MRI scan. This study has identified “two key influx nodes” in the brain. The team was able to measure the rate at which the glymphatic system removed the fluorescent tracer.

Warren Strittmatter at Duke University has been running similar tests, using the tracer and MRIs to keep an eye on diseases that occur within the proteins.

The next step in the research is to visualize the accumulation of molecules that occur in diseases like Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s.

To read more about the topic, the article can be found here. For more information on MRIs, or to book on yourself, call the Open MRI of Pueblo at 719-404-0991

or visit our website.