Imaging the wonderful watery world of the brain and spinal cord: A myelin specific MRI method to study neurological disease

Dr. Cornelia Laule
Event Date and Time: 
Tue, 2017-01-10 11:00 - 12:30
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Leanne Ebbs
Myelin is a critical component of brain and spinal cord tissue which acts to speed up nerve signal transmission. Accurately measuring myelin in-vivo will improve our understanding of development, aging and neurological diseases, as well as enable better assessment of myelin-targeted therapies. Although conventional MRI can detect pathological changes, it lacks specificity for the type(s) of tissue injury. Myelin water imaging provides quantitative and specific mapping of myelin content in-vivo. Water trapped between myelin bilayers have a short T2 relaxation time; the fractional proportion of this myelin water signal correlates strongly with histological staining for myelin. Myelin water imaging has successfully demonstrated myelin abnormalities in multiple sclerosis, stroke, schizophrenia, reading & math disability, phenylketonuria, concussion and spinal cord injury, in both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Several clinical trials have included myelin water as an outcome measure. Moving forward, myelin water imaging is expected to play an important role in the development and monitoring of new treatments targeted at remyelination and neuroprotection. Learning objectives for this talk are: 1. To understand the basic concept of myelin water imaging 2. To become familiar with post-mortem validation studies of myelin water imaging 3. To learn about myelin water findings in (a) healthy controls and (b) neurological disease
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