Medical imaging technology detects vascular disorders, injuries in brain

An analytical imaging technology based on functional MRI.

This graphic shows the procedure of identifying and extracting intrinsic signals from big arteries and veins in an fMRI scan, and using them to calculate the cerebral circulation time of young healthy males and females.
This graphic shows the procedure of identifying and extracting intrinsic signals from big arteries and veins in an fMRI scan, and using them to calculate the cerebral circulation time of young healthy males and females.

Using recently developed analytical imaging technology based on functional MRI, scientists at the Purdue University have identified cerebral vascular disorders and injuries that do not require the use of contrast agents. The technique tracks an intrinsic blood-related MRI signal that can be used as a natural biomarker to assess blood flow in a patient.

The time delay between the intrinsic signals from the internal carotid artery and the inner jugular vein represents the cerebral circulation time. A drawn-out time delay additionally demonstrates bloodstream disturbance in the brain, perhaps caused by a tumor, traumatic brain damage or other brain disorders.

Yunjie Tong, an assistant professor in Purdue’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering said, “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. The blood flow should be symmetric between the two sides in a healthy subject.”

“The new method can even be applied on some existing MRI data to calculate the cerebral circulation time. This method is safer and non-invasive since we don’t inject contrast agents, which can stick to vessels or cause other health problems.”

Scientists are now looking for companies, medical institutions, and other collaborators to complete additional testing on the imaging method. A report on this study was published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism.