Researchers have created a functional MRI (fMRI)-based analytical imaging method to detect and monitor blood vessel disorders and injuries in the brain without using invasive contrast agents.
According to a Purdue University news release, the new method is designed to track an intrinsic blood-related MRI signal, used as a natural biomarker, which has been proven to travel with the blood.
“We can compare the signal from symmetric arteries and veins in both hemispheres or neck to assess the cerebrovascular integrity, or the balance of blood flow,” said co-developer of the technology, Yunjie Tong, an assistant professor in Purdue’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, in the statement. “The blood flow should be symmetric between the two sides in a healthy subject.”
Traditionally MRI, along with other imaging methods, determine cerebral circulation time using contrast injection, but these measurements can only be made for a few seconds.
Purdue’s new technique will allow for continuous monitoring of the circulation time for a safer and non-invasive approach.
“The new method can even be applied on some existing MRI data to calculate the cerebral circulation time,” Tong said. “This method is safer and non-invasive since we don’t inject contrast agents, which can stick to vessels or cause other health problems.”