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Improving quality of life for brain tumor patients
Date:4/21/2008

This release is available in French.

A new neuroimaging study at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at McGill University aims to ensure the highest quality of life for patients by assessing their cognitive skills before, during, and after brain tumour surgery. This is done by mapping the important functional brain areas surrounding the tumour in order to decrease the risks during surgery.

Brain tumour surgery requires a delicate balance between removing as much of a tumour as possible in order to ensure a patients' survival and extend life expectancy, while striving to preserve motor, sensory, and cognitive abilities (functional areas of the brain), and thus quality of life. This new study by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, published recently in the Journal of Neurosurgery, looks at functional neuroimaging in patients undergoing surgery for the removal of brain tumours. This is done in order to localize important functional areas of the brain so that these can be preserved during the surgical procedure. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been used extensively to map sensory and motor functions, as well as to define brain regions involved in language processes but, until now, has not been applied to higher-order cognitive functions such as memory. Patients with brain tumours can lead active lives for extended periods following surgery and it is therefore important to consider the preservation of cognitive functions that depend on brain regions close to the tumour in order to maintain the patients' autonomy, and a good postoperative quality of life.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first published report applying fMRI to higher cortical processing for the pre-operative evaluation of patients with brain tumours," says Dr. Rolando Del Maestro, Director of the Montreal Neur
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Contact: Anita Kar
anita.kar@mcgill.ca
514-398-3376
Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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