By Wayne Forrest, contributing writer
    November 9, 2010

    MRI is expected to draw considerable attention on two main fronts at this year's RSNA meeting. One is in the realm of integrated PET/MRI, where Swiss researchers will demonstrate their work on a clinical prototype. The second is in the use of MRI for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive disorders.

    With respect to PET/MRI, the emerging technology will be highlighted in a presentation on Sunday, November 28, by Osman Ratib, MD, PhD, head of the radiology department at the University Hospital of Geneva in Switzerland (10:55 a.m.-11:05 a.m., SSA18-02, Room S505AB).

    The prototype whole-body scanner combines a 3-tesla MRI device with a time-of-flight PET scanner. It uses a single patient bed that moves back and forth between the scanners, designed to allow sequential acquisition of coregistered MRI and PET images.

    "In my opinion, it most closely allies the two functional imaging techniques, so you can have functional MRI, perhaps with nanoprobes, together with the PET component, which has more specific tracers to assess cancers and other applications, perhaps in cardiology and neurology," said Homer Macapinlac, MD, chairman of RSNA's nuclear medicine subcommittee and chairman of the nuclear medicine department at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas in Houston.

    So far, clinical results from the hybrid imaging technique have been evaluated in oncology applications and then compared to standard PET/CT images, but already there are expectations that PET/MRI can be beneficial beyond oncological uses.

    "A lot of people see this as a solution looking for a problem, but I think there are certain problems we could not resolve with the CT component of PET that we can see clearly with MRI, particularly in the spinal cord and tumors involving the pelvis area, such as prostate, rectal, and ovarian cancers," Macapinlac said. "With the MRI component, we also may be able to assess primary breast cancers."

    In the area of musculoskeletal imaging, topics scheduled for this year's annual meeting include new research using 3-tesla diffusion-tensor imaging to study peripheral nerves adjacent to soft-tissue tumors (Sunday, November 28, 11:25 a.m.-11:35 a.m., SSA14-05, Room E451A).

    In addition, new research will show how contrast-enhanced MRI can be used to assess microvascular characteristics in head and neck cancer patients without exposing them to unnecessary radiation (Sunday, November 28, 11:45 a.m.-11:55 a.m., SSA16-07, Room N229).

    In the lineup of refresher courses, RSNA will offer "Unique Musculoskeletal Issues in Children" on Sunday, November 28 (2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m., RC104, Room E450B). This section will focus on MR images of normal bone marrow in pediatric skeletons at various ages of maturity and will illustrate how MRI findings associated with common disorders can affect bone marrow of children.

    On Monday, November 29, a refresher course will present information on implants and devices related to safe practices using 3-tesla MRI for maximum patient care and management. "Optimize Your Body MR Practice -- MR Safety Update 2010" also will compare safety profiles of intravenous gadolinium-based contrast agents and cover practice guidelines for the prevention of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m., RC229A and B, Room N229).

    Breast MRI will be the focus on Tuesday, November 30, in a refresher course detailing new approaches to MRI and MR spectroscopy. Presenters will offer an overview of the technical aspects and review current evidence of the diagnostic utility of both technologies. In addition, new approaches to diffusion-weighted MRI and dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI in relation to breast imaging will be discussed, as will the clinical role of breast MRI for screening and other diagnostic applications (4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m., RC421A and B, Room E451B).

    Below are just a few more highlights of the many novel MRI scientific papers scheduled for presentation at this year's annual meeting.

    To view the complete RSNA scientific program and abstracts directly, visit the conference's website by clicking here.

    Scientific and Educational Presentations
    ASL-MRI can help assess patients with cerebrovascular disease
    Sunday, November 28 | 11:15 a.m.-11:25 a.m. | SSA17-04 | Room N226
    In this paper presentation, researchers from Stanford University in Stanford, CA, plan to detail evidence that arterial spin labeling (ASL) MRI may yield clinically valuable information on collateral blood flow in patients with cerebrovascular disease.
    3T DTI-MRI clarifies peripheral nerves in soft-tissue tumors
    Sunday, November 28 | 11:25 a.m.-11:35 a.m. | SSA14-05 | Room E451A
    Diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI) 3-tesla MRI helps to clarify the 3D topographic relationship between major peripheral nerves and soft-tissue tumors of the upper and lower extremities, according to a scientific paper to be presented on Sunday.
    Preoperative breast MRI doesn't increase mastectomy rates
    Sunday, November 28 | 11:25 a.m.-11:35 a.m. | SSA01-05 | Arie Crown Theater
    Preoperative MRI can be used in clinical practice for breast cancer staging without boosting mastectomy rates, according to researchers from the University of Milan School of Medicine.
    DCE-MRI can assess for head and neck cancers without radiation exposure
    Sunday, November 28 | 11:45 a.m.-11:55 a.m. | SSA16-07 | Room N229
    Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle will unveil a new study that shows how dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI may be able to differentiate malignant head and neck tumors and pathologic lymph nodes from benign lesions.
    Indirect MR arthrography aids adhesive capsulitis diagnosis
    Monday, November 29 | 11:20 a.m.- 11:30 a.m. | SSC10-06 | Room E451B
    Indirect MR arthrography can aid adhesive capsulitis diagnosis by determining the thickening and enhancement of the joint capsule and synovial membrane, which are characteristic findings of the condition, according to a study to be presented on Monday.
    MRI helps determine need for surgery in shoulder labral lesion cases
    Monday, November 29 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | SSC10-09 | Room E451B
    Preoperative information provided by MRI can be useful in helping surgeons determine if surgery is needed for shoulder labral lesions, according to a paper scheduled for presentation on Monday.
    MRI, DWI-MRI both accurate in pediatric appendicitis diagnosis
    Monday, November 29 | 3:00 p.m.-3:10 p.m. | SSE20-01 | Room N230
    Dutch researchers have found that both MRI and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) MRI achieve high accuracy in diagnosing appendicitis in pediatric patients, with negative predictive value and positive predictive value of MRI comparable to CT.
    Breast MRI shows high negative predictive value in BI-RADS 3 lesions
    Monday, November 29 | 3:20 p.m.-3:30 p.m. | SSE01-03 | Room E450A
    Breast MRI exhibits a high negative predictive value in patients with BI-RADS category 3 lesions, according to a study from the Medical University of Graz in Graz, Austria, to be presented on Monday.
    MRI helps detect soft-tissue edema after physiotherapy
    Monday, November 29 | 3:30 p.m.-3:40 p.m. | SSE15-04 | Room E451B
    In this paper presentation, German researchers will explain how MRI can help determine an increase in soft-tissue edema after physiotherapy, which sometimes can be misinterpreted as an injury in people who play sports.
    Dual-source RF in 3T MRI reduces spinal cord exam time
    Tuesday, November 30 | 10:40 a.m.-10:50 a.m. | SSG10-02 | Room N226
    Dual-source radiofrequency (RF) transmission in 3-tesla MRI of the spinal cord reduces exam time by one-third and produces diagnostic-quality images comparable to standard single-transmission sequences, according to a new study from the University of Bonn Medical Center in Germany.
    Multitransmit 3T MRI improves lumbar spine image quality, reduces scan time
    Tuesday, November 30 | 11:20 a.m.-11:30 a.m. | SSG10-06 | Room N226
    Researchers from the University of Vermont in Burlington will present their study results showing how multitransmit 3-tesla MRI enhances lumbar spine image quality and reduces scan time to 20 minutes or less.
    3T matches 1.5T MR in evaluating ileocolonic Crohn's disease
    Tuesday, November 30 | 3:20 p.m.-3:30 p.m. | SSJ08-03 | Room E353A
    In this scientific paper, Italian researchers recommend the use of 3-tesla MRI for patients with ileocolonic Crohn's disease because of the modality's superiority in detecting mucosal ulcers, increased signal-to-noise ratio, and reduced image acquisition time.
    MR enterography a 'favorable' option for evaluating Crohn's disease
    Tuesday, November 30 | 3:50 p.m.-4:00 p.m. | SSJ08-06 | Room E353A
    Researchers of a new study to be presented on Tuesday concluded that MR enterography compares favorably to endoscopy for evaluating known or suspected Crohn's disease -- and it does so in a noninvasive manner without exposing patients to ionizing radiation.
    New optical imaging device shows promise for rheumatoid arthritis
    Wednesday, December 1 | 10:40 a.m.-10:50 a.m. | SSK10-02 | Room E451B
    German researchers believe contrast-enhanced fluorescence optical imaging may provide an inexpensive, noninvasive, and nonionizing option for the early detection of active inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
    MRI helps evaluate cartilage formation of the knee joint
    Wednesday, December 1 | 11:30 a.m.-11:40 a.m. | SSK10-07 | Room E451B
    In this scientific session, researchers will discuss how high-resolution 3D MRI can help determine the magnitude and local distribution of load-dependent cartilage deformation in the different compartments of the knee joint.
    Survey finds lack of radiation awareness among radiology professionals
    Wednesday, December 1 | 11:40 a.m.-11:50 a.m. | SSK08-08 | Room S102D
    How many radiology professionals believe that MRI and ultrasound use ionizing radiation? A worldwide poll of radiology professionals found that 13% believe ionizing radiation is used in MRI scans, while 15% say ionizing radiation is used in ultrasound.
    7T MRI can be used to determine the 'biological age' of cartilage
    Wednesday, December 1 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | SSK10-09 | Room E451B
    In this paper presentation, researchers will discuss the use of T2-weighted 7-tesla MRI to noninvasively evaluate degenerative changes in cartilage tissue that can cause the development of arthritis.
    MRI useful in evaluating pregnant patients with right lower quadrant pain
    Wednesday, December 1 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | SSK08-09 | Room S102D
    MRI is valuable in evaluating pregnant patients with right lower quadrant pain, according to a new scientific paper by researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
    MR-stress radiography shows prowess in diagnosing ankle joint instability
    Wednesday, December 1 | 3:20 p.m.-3:30 p.m. | SSM13-03 | Room E451B
    In this paper presentation, researchers from Germany will discuss MR-stress radiography and its "new possibilities" in diagnosing chronic instability of the ankle joint.
    MRI, CT fall short in distinguishing malignant cystic pancreatic masses
    Thursday, December 2 | 11:40 a.m.-11:50 a.m. | SSQ07-08 | Room E350
    CT and MRI may not be reliable in distinguishing benign from malignant cystic masses of the pancreas, according to a study by researchers from Hôpital Saint-Luc in Montreal.
    DTI-MRI and PWI-MRI can detect signs of dementia
    Thursday, December 2 | 11:40 a.m.-11:50 a.m. | SSQ13-08 | Room N229
    Advanced MRI techniques, such as perfusion-weighted imaging (PWI) and diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI), may be useful in diagnosing dementia, according to a study from Wroclaw Medical University in Poland.
    Can DWI-MRI replace contrast-enhanced MRI for hepatic metastases?
    Thursday, December 2 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | SSQ06-09 | E353A
    In this paper presentation, Italian researchers will offer that even though diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) MRI should not be substituted for contrast-enhanced MRI to assess hepatic metastases, DWI does improve overall metastatic lesion detection when combined with MRI enhanced with a liver-specific contrast agent.

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