It has been announced as an important advance in the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that affects 75,000 Italians and 2.5 million people worldwide.
This is the demonstration that it is possible to identify the brain lesions typical of multiple sclerosis (MS), distinguishing them from similar injuries but due to other pathologies, using a 3 Tesla (3T) magnetic resonance instead of 7 Tesla (7T), more powerful equipment that allows this discrimination in an easy way but that is still mainly used only for research purposes.
WHAT IS MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease related to the central nervous system in which the immune system affects the myelin sheath that coats the nerve fibers in the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. As this process progresses, which also causes the appearance of scars (sclerosis), they gradually lose the ability to transmit the electrical signal to other nerves. It can occur in people of any age and condition; it has mainly a chronic course in which the disease progresses and can cause serious disability.
WHY THE NEUROIMAGING IS SO IMPORTANT
High cost of 3t brain MRI has powerful scanners that resonate the protons of our body, mostly contained in the water of which we are made, and transform the signal they emit into extremely precise images of anatomical structures.
In the case of the brain, the detail is very high up to being able to identify even very small brain structures, such as venules. Pathological changes appear as alterations of this signal. Unfortunately, however, many lesions of extremely different pathologies resemble each other from the point of view of the signal, but understanding exactly where they are located nevertheless greatly helps the diagnosis. For example, MS lesions are perivenular.
And so, as far as the diagnosis of this pathology is clinical, high-field resonance is often necessary, so much so that it is included among the examinations required by diagnostic criteria recognized by the scientific community.
Being able to distinguish in this way, brain lesions from MS from other brain lesions with MRI is therefore fundamental for the diagnosis in cases where some lesion appears, but its nature is not clear.
And making the diagnosis immediately and very quickly is very important because we must try to stop the disease as soon as possible. But a resonance of a certain sensibility counts above all in the progression controls of the illness, when the «lesion load» is evaluated; when new lesions appear from one control to the other, seeing them or not seeing them, or exchanging a new vascular-type lesion with an MS lesion can change the therapy. MRI images are equally important in therapeutic monitoring, ie, in assessing the effects of therapies.
Modern high and very high field imaging machines allow us to obtain highly detailed high-resolution images and are used for the study of numerous neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases. It is in this part of patients that the new discovery is inserted, moving in the clinical field a technique developed on the very high field of Cost of 3t MRI in Delhi.