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Powerful New Scanner Improves Diagnosis, Treatment of TBI, PTSD Cont.
The new device has other advantages. In addition to combining the MRI and the PET Scan, the tool allows for more comprehensive results. Additionally, traditional PET scanners involve computed tomography imaging, which uses radiation, while the new Biograph mMR does not.
Koroshetz said study protocols are available for participation by servicemembers who have had a recent head injury or blast injury. Patients or providers interested in more information on these protocols can contact CNRM at 1-855-824-2676 or visit http://www.usuhs.mil/cnrm/bicr/index.html.
“It’s free. The evaluations people get here are at no cost to them. There are funds to actually travel people in, if they are not in the area,” he said.
Overall, the hope is that the new imaging equipment will enable researchers to better follow the process of recovery after TBI, whatever the cause, Koroshetz explained.
Diagnosis of TBI can be difficult, and researchers have been diligently seeking out the best tools to improve that process. The Biograph mMR is one technology being used, but others also have been tested.
A study published this summer in the New England Journal of Medicine, for example, looked at a brain scanning method called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). In that study, military and academic researchers used DTI to examine a group of soldiers diagnosed with mild TBI while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. While conventional brain scans appeared normal in all but one of the soldiers, the more precise DTI scans detected clear signs of brain damage in about one-third.
Still, DTI scans were unable to detect signs of brain damage in more than two-thirds of the soldiers, though they all had been diagnosed through other methods with mTBI.
“DTI will never replace a clinical evaluation, but we hope that it will become a useful tool for diagnosis and for guiding rehabilitation,” said Christine MacDonald, Ph.D., the study’s first author, in a news release on the study.
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