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Another Dimension in MRI Scanning

New technology provides three-dimensional images of soft tissues

SUNDAY, Aug. 4, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- A new kind of medical imaging technology able to provide detailed, three-dimensional maps of nerves and other soft tissues may help doctors and researchers better understand and diagnose stroke, multiple sclerosis, autism, schizophrenia and other medical conditions.

Diffusion Tensor Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DT-MRI) was developed by the The National Institutes of Health (NIH). GE Medical Systems has signed an agreement with the NIH to produce and market DT-MRI.

DT-MRI is similar to conventional MRI in that it's a non-invasive method that doesn't need contrast agents or dyes to produce images of the inside of the body.

But DT-MRI differs in that it's able to measure the three-dimensional random motion of water molecules in soft tissues. That produces intricate images of the soft tissue's structure that can help doctors better detect development, degeneration, disease and aging in soft tissue.

Since it was invented, DT-MRI has been used to map nerve pathways in the brain, diagnose acute stroke, and gauge the effectiveness of new medicines for stroke prevention.

DT-MRI has also been used to detect changes in brain white matter in people with Lou Gehrig's Disease, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy and to assess the type and severity of brain tumors.

Cognitive and behavioral disorders such as schizophrenia, dyslexia and attention deficit disorder have also been studied using DT-MRI.

More information

Here's more information on how an MRI works.

SOURCE: National Institutes of Health, news release, July 29, 2002
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