Researchers at the University of Nottingham have developed a new MRI technique that could aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of neuro-degenerative diseases. The technique shows more detailed information related to the size and direction of nerve fibres, which could help clinicians identify abnormalities in the brain. Typical MRI research focuses on tissue measurements at the millimitre length scale.
The research was developed based on current scientific knowledge of myelin, a fatty substance that encases nerve fibres. Based on their knowledge of myelin, the researchers developed a new model that shows nerve fibres in the brain represented as long, thin hollow tubes. The model could allow information about the nerve fibres, including their size and direction, to be inferred from MRI. The method could be helpful in the treatment of MS and other neuro-degenerative diseases.Camilla Andersson