MRI capable of predicting age-related changes in thigh muscles

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To the surprise of nobody who is a few years past 18 years old, aging can have real, physical changes to the human body. Researchers explored using MRI to distinguish age-related changes and as a tool to evaluated aging thigh muscles.

The study—led by Min A. Yoon, MD, with the department of radiology at Korea University Guro Hospital in Seoul—used four quantitative MRI techniques: intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI), multiecho Dixon water-fat imaging and dynamic contrast material–enhanced (DCE) MR imaging.

The team examined multiparametric MRI of the right thighs of 95 participants—47 men and 48 women—with a mean age of 48.2 years.

“We also found significant age-related differences in the fat percentages of thigh muscles and positive correlations between age and fat percentages by using multiecho Dixon imaging,” Yoon et al. wrote. “Our study further revealed increasingly prominent age-related intermuscular fat accumulation in the posterior compartment, suggesting a possible muscle-group specificity of age-related fat accumulation.”

Better understanding how muscle fibers change with age, the researchers hope that this study may help identify premature aging.

‘“We demonstrated that multiple parameters from quantitative MRI were sensitive to age-associated changes in thigh muscles,” the authors wrote. “Quantitative MRI of aging skeletal muscles in evaluating sarcopenia may be useful for the identification of premature or abnormally aging muscles on the basis of normative data from our study.”