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MRE could provide a definitive diagnosis for people with muscle pain, Mayo Clinic study shows
Date:11/29/2007

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- An estimated nine million men and women in the United States live with myofascial pain syndrome, a condition marked by pain that permeates muscles in the neck, back and shoulders. The condition is difficult to diagnose and not entirely understood, but research studies indicate that a new imaging technology developed at Mayo Clinic holds promise for a definitive diagnosis and, perhaps eventually, new treatments for people who have the syndrome.

A Mayo Clinic study published in the November issue of the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation shows that magnetic resonance elastography, or MRE, can provide images of the affected muscle with clarity and insight not possible with magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. While an MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create clear and detailed cross-sectional images of the bodys internal tissues and organs, an MRE measures the elasticity of tissue as it is gently vibrated.

Additional research is necessary, but our findings in this pilot study provide a strong basis to suspect that MRE technology can identify changes in muscle tone and stiffness that could previously only be identified by physical examination by a physician or a therapist, says Jeffrey Basford, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation and an author of the study. Prior to these findings, we did not have a good diagnostic test for myofascial pain syndrome.

An MRE employs standard MRI equipment with a few modifications, and works by measuring the wavelength of vibrations sent through the tissues. A vibrating metal plate is placed on the patient causing muscles to contract and stiffen. When this occurs, researchers can measure the elasticity of muscles and detect abnormal hardening of tissues, which in myofasical pain syndrome can cause pain.

The MRE technique is being applied to the diagnosis of other diseases, such as liver disease (

Contact: Amy Reyes
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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