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Cohen Veterans Bioscience and American College of Radiology Launch First of its Kind Imaging Library

Database Will Advance Understanding of TBI’s Lasting Effects

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 25, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Cohen Veterans Bioscience and the American College of Radiology (ACR) today announced the creation of the first Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Imaging Reference Library. The library will be essential to the development of effective clinical imaging tools for diagnosing and managing patients with mild TBI.

Mild TBI affects an estimated 1.5 million people in the United States each year. Though mild TBIs cause no outwardly visible signs of brain damage in most cases, these injuries lead to long-term cognitive or behavioral problems or physical symptoms in up to 20% of cases.

Neuroimaging approaches that are currently used in hospitals have little role in the diagnosis of mild TBI. In fact, patients with this condition often have normal routine brain scans. However, advanced types of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are showing increasing promise in demonstrating changes that are known to occur in mild TBI. These advanced imaging approaches include diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), functional connectivity, perfusion weighted imaging, and volumetric imaging.

Despite their promise, these advanced approaches are currently primarily confined to research use. The numerical nature of the information these advanced imaging approaches yield is difficult to translate from the study of groups of individuals to a single patient without a reference. To bridge the divide between the current research applications of these advanced imaging approaches and their use in clinical care, researchers must first use the technology to characterize the normal range of variation across the population. Known cases of TBI could then be compared with this reference to establish diagnostic differences that may be used to establish a diagnosis and help to guide patient management.

To achieve this goal, Cohen Veterans Bioscience and the American College of Radiology Head Injury Institute are embarking on a program to perform standardized advanced neuroimaging scans on 3,000 adult volunteers. The initial iteration of this work will be conducted at four sites: Lackland Air Force Base, the San Antonio Military Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Virginia Health System. The resulting imaging data, along with demographic information and the results of neurocognitive assessments, will form the basis for a library documenting population variation in brain structure and function as measured by these advanced imaging methods. Standards developed by the project for performing imaging and assessing volunteers will also be released to the research community, so that future efforts may employ this resource in the study of individuals with traumatic brain injury.

“Injuries to the brain can be so subtle and so easily missed, not only because they may not be seen on an MRI, but because clinicians can only rely on patient-reported symptoms. Patients may feel fine yet have a potentially life-altering condition,” says Magali Haas, MD, PhD, CEO & President of Cohen Veterans Bioscience. “With this new reference library we can create a diagnostic standard by which all individuals who suffer from a TBI can be assessed and receive immediate treatment.”

“Medical imaging as a whole is in the process of undergoing a critical evolution which will see advanced analytical tools increasingly employed in hospitals to aid with patient diagnosis and management,” says James R. Stone, MD, PhD, scientific principal investigator for the effort and Vice Chair of Research for the UVA Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging. “The TBI imaging reference library will provide key information necessary to capitalize on these increasingly available analytical approaches to allow for imaging to help support decisions in the management of patients with mild TBI.”

“We are committed to maximizing the learning opportunity from every single patient. This approach is a giant step forward where medicine and imaging are concerned”, Alexander Norbash MD, MS, FACR, ACR Head Injury Institute Chair. “Cohen Veterans Bioscience has made this possible, and it is a transformative opportunity.”

​Please note: The information on this website is not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should consult your health care provider regarding specific medical concerns or treatment.

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