Diffusion tensor imaging increases ability to remove benign tumors in children

Dec 04, 2009

A new study published this week in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics finds that operative plans for removing Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma, or JPA, tumors in the thalamus of the brain can be augmented with Diffusion Tensor Imaging, or DTI. The sensitivity of DTI imaging allows for the visualization of nerve fiber bundles in the brain. This information can maximize the potential of completely removing the tumor while avoiding damage to the fiber bundles that are directly related to motor functions of the patient.

"This study of six children with thalamic JPA showed that using advanced MRI technology can help identify distorted bundles around tumors," said Jeffrey H. Wisoff, MD, director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at NYU Langone Medical Center. "This allows an otherwise inoperable tumor to be completely removed which can hopefully lead to a cure."

Operating on patients with deep-seated tumors such as JPA, a benign tumor most frequently observed in children and young adults in the thalamus, remains a neurosurgical challenge. Conventional imaging techniques, such as structural MRI, has been revolutionary in helping to reveal major anatomical features of the brain, primary which is made up of nerve cell bodies. Diffusion Tensor Imaging, a variation of MRI, can help identify white matter, or nerve fiber bundles, using specific radio-frequency and magnetic field pulses to track the movement of of the brain. In most brain tissue, water molecules diffuse in all different directions. But they tend to diffuse along the length of axons, whose coating of white, fatty myelin holds them in. Scientists can create pictures of axons by analyzing the direction of water diffusion.

Source: New York University School of Medicine (news : web)

Explore further: Lucid dreams and metacognition: Awareness of thinking—awareness of dreaming

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chronic back pain linked to changes in the brain

Nov 28, 2006

A German research team using a specialized imaging technique revealed that individuals suffering from chronic low back pain also had microstructural changes in their brains. The findings were presented today at the annual ...

Study evaluates brain lesions of older patients

Jul 09, 2007

Lesions commonly seen on MRI in the brains of older patients may be a sign of potentially more extensive injury to the brain tissue, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the Duke University Medical Center, ...

Recommended for you

The brain's electrical alphabet

Jan 23, 2015

The brain's alphabet is a mix of rate and precise timing of electrical pulses: the observation was made by researchers at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste and the Italian Institute ...

Dragnet for epilepsy genes

Jan 23, 2015

An international team of scientists together with the University of Bonn Hospital have taken a new path in the research into causes of epilepsy: The researchers determined the networks of the active genes ...

The molecular biology behind ALS

Jan 23, 2015

UA researchers have identified a molecular defect in motor neurons that may help explain the mechanisms underlying ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.