Navigation Links
Using powerful MRI to track iron levels in brain could be new way to monitor progression of MS

Medical researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered a new way to track the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) in those living with the disease, by using a powerful, triple strength MRI to track increasing levels of iron found in brain tissue.

The researchers discovered that iron levels in MS patients are increasing in grey matter areas of the brain that are responsible for relaying messages. High iron levels in a specific "relay area" were noted in patients who had physical disabilities associated with MS. Iron is very important for normal function of the brain and the amount of iron is a tightly controlled system by the brain tissue. The discovery suggests there is a problem with the control system. Too much iron can be toxic to brain cells and high levels of iron in the brain have been associated with various neurodegenerative diseases. But to date, no tests have been able to quantify or measure iron in living brain.

Alan Wilman and Gregg Blevins, co-principal investigators from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, used a new MRI method to quantitatively measure iron in the brain to gain a better understanding of what the disease is doing in the brains of those who were recently diagnosed with MS. Twenty-two people with MS took part in the study, along with 22 people who did not have the condition.

"In MS, there is a real desire and need to get a good idea of the state and progression of the disease," says Blevins, who is both a practising neurologist and a researcher from the Division of Neurology.

"When patients with MS currently get an MRI, the typical measures we look at may not give us a good idea of the nature and state of MS. Using this new MRI method would give physicians a new way to measure the effectiveness of new treatments for patients with MS by watching the impact on iron levels. This opens up the idea of having a new biomarker, a new way of looking at the disease over time, watching the disease, seeing the progression or lack of progression of the disease, a new way to track it."

Wilman, a researcher and physicist in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, says the new MRI method may be a better gauge for disease progression than strictly looking at number and frequency of relapses.

"This is a new quantitative marker that gives us more insight into MS. We can get a better handle on where patients are at. In terms of clinical symptoms, they may be fine for quite awhile, then they have a relapse, then they're fine for quite awhile. Well, the time when they are actually fine, they may not actually be alright.

"The disease may be progressing, but there is just no marker right now that shows that. We think the biomarker we have discovered could be an answer. People in the medical research community are very excited about this discovery, because it could be a new way of looking at the disease."

The new MRI method, which uses a machine that is 90,000 times the strength of the earth's magnetic field, will give physicians more detail and information about the impact of MS on the brain, insight that doctors and researchers didn't have before.

"This could be a very early marker of MS. We'd like to see this new method used with all patients who have MS. Ultimately, this discovery is a great example of translational research."

The researchers hope to see this new MRI method used in clinical trials for patients with MS within the next one to two years, then to be regularly used by physicians within five years.

Blevins and Wilman both credit the MS patients who took part in the study. "If patients weren't so willing to help, we couldn't do any of this," said Wilman.


Contact: Raquel Maurier
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

Related medicine news :

1. Closing in on an ulcer- and cancer-causing bacterium
2. Reusing pacemakers from deceased patients is safe and effective, study finds
3. More Children Using Preventive Asthma Drugs: Study
4. Indevr launches breakthrough colorimetric detection for microarrays using core technology from CU
5. Southeast U.S. Still Using High Levels of Antibiotics, Study Shows
6. Heart Patients Using Vitamins May Take Meds Improperly
7. Pitt researchers using mathematics to target Parkinsons disease symptoms
8. Using Viagra to combat malignant melanoma
9. More People Landing in the ER After Abusing Muscle Relaxant: Report
10. NYUCD awarded $2.2 million NIH grant to decode genome of caries-causing bacteria
11. Using Drug for Prevention Might Help in Hard-to-Treat Hemophilia
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs ... College of Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. ... treatment for skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand ... project," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s ... within Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a ... Magna Cum Laude and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at ... returned to Los Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the ... to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The ... Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article ... are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to state that individuals are now more ... these less common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... VEGAS , June 26, 2016 ... to value-based care operating models within the health care ... enable greater financial efficiency , Deloitte offers a ... the key business issues impacting efficient cost optimization: labor ... , These services facilitate better outcomes and better ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 ... Markets has announced the addition of the " ... offering. This ... and provides an updated review, including its applications in ... the total market, which includes three main industries: pharmaceutical ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... report to their offering. ... The World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers the world market ... the report includes the following: , World ... Region (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 , World IVD ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: