See Possibilities Together at RSNA 2019

Press releases showcase research and science to be featured at the annual meeting

At RSNA 2019, innovative medical imaging research and new technologies will make their debut. Explore highlights from this year's annual meeting in these preview press releases. 

MRI Reveals Brain Damage in Obese Teens

Researchers have found signs of damage that may be related to inflammation in the brains of obese adolescents, according to a study from the University of São Paulo in Brazil. The researchers compared fractional anisotropy (FA) measurements from diffusion tensor imaging results in 59 obese adolescents and 61 healthy adolescents, ages 12 to 16 years. The results showed a reduction of FA values in the obese adolescents in regions located in the corpus callosum, a bundle of nerve fibers that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Decrease of FA was also found in the middle orbitofrontal gyrus, a brain region related to emotional control and the reward circuit. A reduction in FA is indicative of increasing damage in the white matter. The pattern of damage correlated with some inflammatory markers like leptin, a hormone made by fat cells that helps regulate energy levels and fat stores.

Prenatal Opioid Exposure May Alter Brain Function in Babies

Connectivity in an area of the brain that regulates emotion may be altered in infants exposed to opioids while in utero, according to a new study from Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. A team of obstetricians, neonatologists, psychologists and imaging scientists collaborated to study the brains of 16 infants, including 8 exposed to prenatal opioids, using resting state functional MRI (fMRI), which enables researchers to measure brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow. The research team investigated the functional connectivity of the amygdala, a region responsible for the perception and regulation of emotions such as anger, fear, sadness and aggression. Significant differences were seen in the way the amygdala connects to different brain regions in the infants with prenatal opioid exposure.

Biennial Mammography Screening Yields More Advanced-Stage Cancers

Cancers found in patients undergoing annual mammography screening are smaller and less advanced than those found in patients undergoing screenings every two years, according to a new study from Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Researchers compared breast cancer tumor characteristics and treatment regimens among women undergoing annual mammography versus those getting biennial screening. The study group included 232 women, ages 40 to 84, who were diagnosed with breast cancer. Almost half of women in the biennial screening group (43.8%) had late-stage cancers, compared with only a quarter of women in the annual screening group (24.0%). Interval cancers, or cancers found between screenings, were more prevalent in the biennial screening group. More than a third of those women had interval cancers, compared with only 10.5% of women who had annual screening. Biennial screening was also associated with larger tumor size. 

Minimally Invasive Procedure Relieves Tremors in Parkinson’s Patients

A procedure that applies pulses of focused ultrasound to the brain is safe and effective for reducing tremors and improving quality of life in people with essential tremor or Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study from the University of L’Aquila in L’Aquila, Italy. The researchers enrolled 39 patients with disabling tremors that had not responded to treatment. The people in the study group, including 18 with essential tremor and 21 with Parkinson’s disease, had experienced symptoms for an average of more than 10 years. After treatment with MR-guided focused ultrasound thalamotomy, 37 of 39 patients had substantial and immediate reduction of tremor. These reductions in tremor were sustained in follow-up evaluations.

Gunshot Injuries Have Long-term Medical Consequences

Gunshot injury patterns may predict long-term health outcomes in victims of gun violence, according to a new study from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Researchers analyzed data on 110 gun-violence patients. Of the 110 patients, 36 patients were readmitted to the hospital with neurologic, visceral or extremity injuries. Of those, 18 were readmitted due to complications associated with their prior gunshot wounds. Neurologic injuries were the most common injury in the study group. Patients with gunshot wounds to the chest or abdomen were more likely to be readmitted to the hospital.

Imaging Uncovers Secrets of Medicine’s Mysterious Ivory Manikins

Researchers using micro-CT successfully identified the material composition and components of several ancient ivory manikins—small anatomical sculptures thought to be used by doctors centuries ago, according to a study from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. The research team scanned 22 manikins with micro-CT and found that 20 out of the 22 manikins were composed of true ivory alone. They discovered that one manikin was made entirely of antler bone, and one manikin contained both ivory and whale bone components. Metallic components were found in four of the manikins, and fibers in two. Twelve manikins contained hinging mechanisms or internal repairs with ivory pins, and one manikin contained a long detachable pin disguised as a hairpiece. 

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