Novel MRI technique explains asthma issues

By AuntMinnie.com staff writers

April 5, 2018 -- Canadian researchers at Western University and McMaster University are working on an MRI technique to measure the airways of asthmatics and view the movement of air through the lungs to show how the process is restricted by bouts of asthma.

The lung imaging method, detailed in the April issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, combines the quantification of mucus in the lungs with MRI to determine how airway inflammation and airway smooth muscle dysfunction contribute to impaired breathing. With this information, clinicians hope to guide and personalize treatment for patients with severe asthma.

In their study, the researchers enrolled 27 patients with severe asthma to measure their response before and after the use of certain therapies to alleviate asthma symptoms. Inflammation and smooth muscle dysfunction were calculated in terms of ventilation defect percent (Am J Respir Crit Care Med, April 2018, Vol. 197:7, pp. 876-884).

"When MRI is used to directly measure and visualize the contributions of airway inflammation and smooth muscle abnormalities to asthma symptoms, we can start to consider personalizing therapy for individual patients," said study co-author Grace Parraga, PhD, from Western University in a press release. "It holds the promise for much better quality of life for patients and lower healthcare costs."


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