We present an analysis framework for large studies of multimodal clinical quality brain image collections. Processing and analysis of such datasets is challenging due to low resolution, poor contrast, mis-aligned images, and restricted field of view. We adapt existing registration and segmentation methods and build a computational pipeline for spatial normalization and feature extraction. The resulting aligned dataset enables clinically meaningful analysis of spatial distributions of relevant anatomical features and of their evolution with age and disease progression. We demonstrate the approach on a neuroimaging study of stroke with more than 800 patients. We show that by combining data from several modalities, we can automatically segment important biomarkers such as white matter hyperintensity and characterize pathology evolution in this heterogeneous cohort. Specifically, we examine two sub-populations with different dynamics of white matter hyperintensity changes as a function of patients' age. Pipeline and analysis code is available at http://groups.csail.mit.edu/vision/medical-vision/stroke/.
In acute stroke magnetic resonance imaging, a 'mismatch' between visibility of an ischemic lesion on diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and missing corresponding parenchymal hyperintensities on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) data sets was shown to identify patients with time from symptom onset ≤4.5 hours with high specificity. However, moderate sensitivity and suboptimal interpreter agreement are limitations of a visual rating of FLAIR lesion visibility. We tested refined image analysis methods in patients included in the previously published PREFLAIR study using refined visual analysis and quantitative measurements of relative FLAIR signal intensity (rSI) from a three-dimensional, segmented stroke lesion volume. A total of 399 patients were included. The rSI of FLAIR lesions showed a moderate correlation with time from symptom onset (r=0.382, P<0.001). A FLAIR rSI threshold of <1.0721 predicted symptom onset ≤4.5 hours with slightly increased specificity (0.85 versus 0.78) but also slightly decreased sensitivity (0.47 versus 0.58) as compared with visual analysis. Refined visual analysis differentiating between 'subtle' and 'obvious' FLAIR hyperintensities and classification and regression tree algorithms combining information from visual and quantitative analysis also did not improve diagnostic accuracy. Our results raise doubts whether the prediction of stroke onset time by visual image judgment can be improved by quantitative rSI measurements.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Meta-analyses of extant genome-wide data illustrate the need to focus on subtypes of ischemic stroke for gene discovery. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke SiGN (Stroke Genetics Network) contributes substantially to meta-analyses that focus on specific subtypes of stroke.
METHODS: The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke SiGN includes ischemic stroke cases from 24 genetic research centers: 13 from the United States and 11 from Europe. Investigators harmonize ischemic stroke phenotyping using the Web-based causative classification of stroke system, with data entered by trained and certified adjudicators at participating genetic research centers. Through the Center for Inherited Diseases Research, the Network plans to genotype 10,296 carefully phenotyped stroke cases using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism arrays and adds to these another 4253 previously genotyped cases, for a total of 14,549 cases. To maximize power for subtype analyses, the study allocates genotyping resources almost exclusively to cases. Publicly available studies provide most of the control genotypes. Center for Inherited Diseases Research-generated genotypes and corresponding phenotypes will be shared with the scientific community through the US National Center for Biotechnology Information database of Genotypes and Phenotypes, and brain MRI studies will be centrally archived.
CONCLUSIONS: The Stroke Genetics Network, with its emphasis on careful and standardized phenotyping of ischemic stroke and stroke subtypes, provides an unprecedented opportunity to uncover genetic determinants of ischemic stroke.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The goal of the Stroke Treatment Academic Industry Roundtable (STAIR) meetings is to advance the development of stroke therapies. At STAIR VIII, consensus recommendations were developed for clinical trial strategies to demonstrate the benefit of endovascular reperfusion therapies for acute ischemic stroke.
SUMMARY OF REVIEW: Prospects for success with forthcoming endovascular trials are robust, because new neurothrombectomy devices have superior reperfusion efficacy compared with earlier-generation interventions. Specific recommendations are provided for trial designs in 3 populations: (1) patients undergoing intravenous fibrinolysis, (2) early patients ineligible for or having failed intravenous fibrinolysis, and (3) wake-up and other late-presenting patients. Among intravenous fibrinolysis-eligible patients, key principles are that CT or MRI confirmation of target arterial occlusions should precede randomization; endovascular intervention should be pursued with the greatest rapidity possible; and combined intravenous and neurothrombectomy therapy is more promising than neurothrombectomy alone. Among patients ineligible for or having failed intravenous fibrinolysis, scientific equipoise was affirmed and the need to randomize all eligible patients emphasized. Vessel imaging to confirm occlusion is mandatory, and infarct core and penumbral imaging is desirable in later time windows. Additional STAIR VIII recommendations include approaches to test multiple devices in a single trial, utility weighting of disability end points, and adaptive designs to delineate time and tissue injury thresholds at which benefits from intervention no longer accrue.
CONCLUSIONS: Endovascular research priorities in acute ischemic stroke are to perform trials testing new, highly effective neuro thrombectomy devices rapidly deployed in patients confirmed to have target vessel occlusions.
BACKGROUND: Prognostication in the early stage of traumatic coma is a common challenge in the neuro-intensive care unit. We report the unexpected recovery of functional milestones (i.e., consciousness, communication, and community reintegration) in a 19-year-old man who sustained a severe traumatic brain injury. The early magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings, at the time, suggested a poor prognosis.
METHODS: During the first year of the patient's recovery, MRI with diffusion tensor imaging and T2*-weighted imaging was performed on day 8 (coma), day 44 (minimally conscious state), day 198 (post-traumatic confusional state), and day 366 (community reintegration). Mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy values in the corpus callosum, cerebral hemispheric white matter, and thalamus were compared with clinical assessments using the Disability Rating Scale (DRS).
RESULTS: Extensive diffusion restriction in the corpus callosum and bihemispheric white matter was observed on day 8, with ADC values in a range typically associated with neurotoxic injury (230-400 × 10(-6 )mm(2)/s). T2*-weighted MRI revealed widespread hemorrhagic axonal injury in the cerebral hemispheres, corpus callosum, and brainstem. Despite the presence of severe axonal injury on early MRI, the patient regained the ability to communicate and perform activities of daily living independently at 1 year post-injury (DRS = 8).
CONCLUSIONS: MRI data should be interpreted with caution when prognosticating for patients in traumatic coma. Recovery of consciousness and community reintegration are possible even when extensive traumatic axonal injury is demonstrated by early MRI.
The purpose of this project was to evaluate white matter degeneration and its impact on hippocampal structural connectivity in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment, non-amnestic mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. We estimated white matter fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity and hippocampal structural connectivity in two independent cohorts. The ADNI cohort included 108 subjects [25 cognitively normal, 21 amnestic mild cognitive impairment, 47 non-amnestic mild cognitive impairment and 15 Alzheimer's disease]. A second cohort included 34 subjects [15 cognitively normal and 19 amnestic mild cognitive impairment] recruited in Montreal. All subjects underwent clinical and neuropsychological assessment in addition to diffusion and T1 MRI. Individual fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity maps were generated using FSL-DTIfit. In addition, hippocampal structural connectivity maps expressing the probability of connectivity between the hippocampus and cortex were generated using a pipeline based on FSL-probtrackX. Voxel-based group comparison statistics of fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity and hippocampal structural connectivity were estimated using Tract-Based Spatial Statistics. The proportion of abnormal to total white matter volume was estimated using the total volume of the white matter skeleton. We found that in both cohorts, amnestic mild cognitive impairment patients had 27-29% white matter volume showing higher mean diffusivity but no significant fractional anisotropy abnormalities. No fractional anisotropy or mean diffusivity differences were observed between non-amnestic mild cognitive impairment patients and cognitively normal subjects. Alzheimer's disease patients had 66.3% of normalized white matter volume with increased mean diffusivity and 54.3% of the white matter had reduced fractional anisotropy. Reduced structural connectivity was found in the hippocampal connections to temporal, inferior parietal, posterior cingulate and frontal regions only in the Alzheimer's group. The severity of white matter degeneration appears to be higher in advanced clinical stages, supporting the construct that these abnormalities are part of the pathophysiological processes of Alzheimer's disease.
Advances in structural and functional neuroimaging have occurred at a rapid pace over the past two decades. Novel techniques for measuring cerebral blood flow, metabolism, white matter connectivity, and neural network activation have great potential to improve the accuracy of diagnosis and prognosis for patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), while also providing biomarkers to guide the development of new therapies. Several of these advanced imaging modalities are currently being implemented into clinical practice, whereas others require further development and validation. Ultimately, for advanced neuroimaging techniques to reach their full potential and improve clinical care for the many civilians and military personnel affected by TBI, it is critical for clinicians to understand the applications and methodological limitations of each technique. In this review, we examine recent advances in structural and functional neuroimaging and the potential applications of these techniques to the clinical care of patients with TBI. We also discuss pitfalls and confounders that should be considered when interpreting data from each technique. Finally, given the vast amounts of advanced imaging data that will soon be available to clinicians, we discuss strategies for optimizing data integration, visualization, and interpretation.
INTRODUCTION: The increased risk of cerebro- and cardiovascular disease in migraineurs may be the consequence of a systemic condition affecting whole body vasculature. At cerebrovascular level, this may be reflected by interictal global or regional cerebral perfusion abnormalities. Whether focal perfusion changes occur during interictal migraine has not been convincingly demonstrated.
METHODS: We measured brain perfusion with dynamic susceptibility contrast magnetic resonance imaging (DSC-MRI) in 29 interictal female migraineurs (12 migraine with aura (MA), 17 migraine without aura (MO)), and 16 female controls. Perfusion maps were compared between these groups with a voxelwise (p < 0.001, uncorrected, minimum cluster size 20 voxels) and a region-of-interest approach.
RESULTS: In whole brain voxelwise analyses interictal hyperperfusion was observed in the left medial frontal gyrus in migraineurs and in the inferior and middle temporal gyrus in MO patients, in comparison with controls. Hypoperfusion was seen in the postcentral gyrus and in the inferior temporal gyrus in MA patients and in the inferior frontal gyrus in MO patients. Additional focal sites of hyperperfusion were noted in subgroups based on attack frequency and disease history. Region-of-interest analyses of the pons, hypothalamus, occipital lobe, and cerebellum did not show interictal perfusion differences between migraineurs and controls.
CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that interictal migraine is characterized by discrete areas of hyper- and hypoperfusion unspecific for migraine pathophysiology and not explaining the increased vulnerability of particular brain regions for cerebrovascular damage.
OBJECTIVES: Determine the utility of the neurologic examination in comatose patients from nontraumatic causes in the modern era.
DESIGN: Prospective observational study.
SETTING: Single academic medical center.
PATIENTS: Data from 500 patients in nontraumatic coma collected sequentially from 2000 to 2007 in the emergency department and neuroscience, medical, and cardiac intensive care units.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Clinical data were collected on days 0, 1, 3, and 7. Outcome was assessed at 6 months; good outcome was determined at two levels by modified Rankin Scale, ≤3 as independence and ≤4 as moderate but not severe disability. A classification and regression tree analysis was performed to determine prognostic variables, creating predictive algorithms of good vs. poor outcome for each day. Patients with coma attributable to subarachnoid hemorrhage (4/80; 5%) or global hypoxic-ischemic injury (20/202, 10%) were more likely to achieve good outcomes. The pupillary reflex was an important determinant, regardless of day or modified Rankin Scale cut point (mean odds ratio 12.51, range [6.01, 22.56] for modified Rankin Scale ≤3; mean odds ratio 19.26, range [5.38, 42.26] for modified Rankin Scale ≤4). A less robust effect was seen for oculocephalic reflexes (mean odds ratio 62.61, range [2.24, 177] for modified Rankin Scale ≤3; mean odds ratio 34.13, range [4.95, 89.93] for modified Rankin Scale ≤4). The motor response was selected as a predictor of outcome only on day 0 (odds ratio 2.35, 95% confidence interval 0.64-5.74 for modified Rankin Scale ≤3; odds ratio 2.1, 95% confidence interval 0.81-4.24 for modified Rankin Scale score ≤4). Age was not associated with outcome.
CONCLUSIONS: The clinical neurologic examination remains central to determining prognosis in nontraumatic coma. Additional clinical and diagnostic variables may also aid in outcome prediction for specific disease states.
Studies suggest that neuroprotective effects of normobaric oxygen (NBO) therapy in acute stroke are partly mediated by hemodynamic alterations. We investigated cerebral hemodynamic effects of repeated NBO exposures. Serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed in Wistar rats subjected to focal ischemic stroke. Normobaric oxygen-induced functional cerebral blood volume (fCBV) responses were analyzed. All rats had diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) lesions within larger perfusion deficits, with DWI lesion expansion after 3 hours. Functional cerebral blood volume responses to NBO were spatially and temporally heterogeneous. Contralateral healthy tissue responded consistently with vasoconstriction that increased with time. No significant responses were evident in the acute DWI lesion. In hypoperfused regions surrounding the acute DWI lesion, tissue that remained viable until the end of the experiment showed relative preservation of mean fCBV at early time points, with some rats showing increased fCBV (vasodilation); however, these regions later exhibited significantly decreased fCBV (vasoconstriction). Tissue that became DWI abnormal by study-end initially showed marginal fCBV changes that later became moderate fCBV reductions. Our results suggest that a reverse-steal hemodynamic effect may occur in peripheral ischemic zones during NBO treatment of focal stroke. In addition, CBV responses to NBO challenge may have potential as an imaging marker to distinguish ischemic core from salvageable tissues.
BACKGROUND: Voxel-based algorithms using acute multiparametric-MRI data have been shown to accurately predict tissue outcome after stroke. We explored the potential of MRI-based predictive algorithms to objectively assess the effects of normobaric oxygen therapy (NBO), an investigational stroke treatment, using data from a pilot study of NBO in acute stroke.
METHODS: The pilot study of NBO enrolled 11 patients randomized to NBO administered for 8 hours, and 8 Control patients who received room-air. Serial MRIs were obtained at admission, during gas therapy, post-therapy, and pre-discharge. Diffusion/perfusion MRI data acquired at admission (pre-therapy) was used in generalized linear models to predict the risk of lesion growth at subsequent time points for both treatment scenarios: NBO or Control.
RESULTS: Lesion volume sizes 'during NBO therapy' predicted by Control-models were significantly larger (P = 0.007) than those predicted by NBO models, suggesting that ischemic lesion growth is attenuated during NBO treatment. No significant difference was found between the predicted lesion volumes at later time-points. NBO-treated patients, despite showing larger lesion volumes on Control-models than NBO-models, tended to have reduced lesion growth.
CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that NBO has therapeutic potential in acute ischemic stroke, and demonstrates the feasibility of using MRI-based algorithms to evaluate novel treatments in early-phase clinical trials.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Hyperintense vessels (HVs) have been observed in fluid-attenuated inversion recovery imaging of patients with acute ischemic stroke and been linked to slow flow in collateral arterial circulation. Given the potential importance of HV, we used a large, multicenter data set of patients with stroke to clarify which clinical and imaging factors play a role in HV.
METHODS: We analyzed data of 516 patients from the previously published PRE-FLAIR study (PREdictive value of FLAIR and DWI for the identification of acute ischemic stroke patients≤3 and ≤4.5 hours of symptom onset-a multicenter study) study. Patients were studied by MRI within 12 hours of symptom onset. HV were defined as hyperintensities in fluid-attenuated inversion recovery corresponding to the typical course of a blood vessel that was not considered the proximal, occluded main artery ipsilateral to the diffusion restriction. Presence of HV was rated by 2 observers and related to clinical and imaging findings.
RESULTS: Presence of HV was identified in 240 of all 516 patients (47%). Patients with HV showed larger initial ischemic lesion volumes (median, 12.3 versus 4.9 mL; P<0.001) and a more severe clinical impairment (median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale 10.5 versus 6; P<0.001). In 198 patients with MR angiography, HVs were found in 80% of patients with vessel occlusion and in 17% without vessel occlusion. In a multivariable logistic regression model, vessel occlusion was associated with HV (OR, 21.7%; 95% CI, 9.6-49.9; P<0.001). HV detected vessel occlusion with a specificity of 0.86 (95% CI, 0.80-0.90) and sensitivity of 0.76 (95% CI, 0.69-0.83).
CONCLUSIONS: HVs are a common finding associated with proximal arterial occlusions and more severe strokes. HVs predict arterial occlusion with high diagnostic accuracy.
The ascending reticular activating system (ARAS) mediates arousal, an essential component of human consciousness. Lesions of the ARAS cause coma, the most severe disorder of consciousness. Because of current methodological limitations, including of postmortem tissue analysis, the neuroanatomic connectivity of the human ARAS is poorly understood. We applied the advanced imaging technique of high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) to elucidate the structural connectivity of the ARAS in 3 adult human brains, 2 of which were imaged postmortem. High angular resolution diffusion imaging tractography identified the ARAS connectivity previously described in animals and also revealed novel human pathways connecting the brainstem to the thalamus, the hypothalamus, and the basal forebrain. Each pathway contained different distributions of fiber tracts from known neurotransmitter-specific ARAS nuclei in the brainstem. The histologically guided tractography findings reported here provide initial evidence for human-specific pathways of the ARAS. The unique composition of neurotransmitter-specific fiber tracts within each ARAS pathway suggests structural specializations that subserve the different functional characteristics of human arousal. This ARAS connectivity analysis provides proof of principle that HARDI tractography may affect the study of human consciousness and its disorders, including in neuropathologic studies of patients dying in coma and the persistent vegetative state.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Toward the goal of designing a clinical trial using imaging parameters to treat stroke patients with unknown onset time, we investigated the timing of changes on MRI in patients with well-defined stroke onset.
METHODS: Hypothesis-generating (n=85) and confirmatory (n=111) samples were scored by blinded readers for fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) hyperintensity in diffusion-positive regions. Reader-measured signal intensity ratio (SIR) of the lesion to contralateral tissue was compared with SIR measured by coregistration.
RESULTS: Lesion conspicuity increased with time on FLAIR (P=0.006). Qualitative assessment of FLAIR-negative vs FLAIR hyperintensity (k=0.7091; 95% CI, 0.61-0.81) showed good interrater agreement. Subtle hyperintensity was less reliably categorized (k=0.59; 95% CI, 0.47-0.71). Reader-measured SIR <1.15 can identify patients within the treatable time window of 4.5 hours (positive predictive value=0.90). The SIR was greater for right hemisphere lesions (P=0.04) for a given reported time from stroke symptom onset.
CONCLUSIONS: The SIR on FLAIR provides a quantitative tool to identify early ischemic strokes. In developing SIR thresholds, right hemisphere lesions may confound the accurate estimate of stroke onset time. Image coregistration for thrombolytic trial enrollment is not necessary. A SIR <1.15 on FLAIR yields a practical estimate of stroke onset within 4.5 hours.
PURPOSE: To assess the reliability of cerebral blood volume (CBV) maps as a substitute for diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) in acute ischemic stroke. In acute stroke, DWI is often used to identify irreversibly injured "core" tissue. Some propose using perfusion imaging, specifically CBV maps, in place of DWI. We examined whether CBV maps can reliably subsitute for DWI, and assessed the effect of scan duration on calculated CBV.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively identified 58 patients who underwent DWI and MR perfusion imaging within 12 h of stroke onset. CBV in each DWI lesion's center was divided by CBV in the normal-appearing contralateral hemisphere to yield relative regional CBV (rrCBV). The proportion of lesions with decreased rrCBV was calculated. After using the full scan duration (110 s after contrast injection), rrCBV was recalculated using simulated shorter scans. The effect of scan duration on rrCBV was tested with linear regression.
RESULTS: Using the full scan duration (110 s), rrCBV was increased in most DWI lesions (62%; 95% confidence interval, 48-74%). rrCBV increased with increasing scan duration (P < 0.001). Even with the shortest duration (39.5 s) rrCBV was increased in 33% of lesions.
CONCLUSION: Because DWI lesions may have elevated or decreased CBV, CBV maps cannot reliably substitute for DWI in identifying the infarct core.
It is not known if there is a relationship between gender and tissue outcome in human ischemic stroke. We sought to identify whether the proportion of initially ischemic to eventually infarcted tissue was different between men and women with ischemic stroke.
We studied 141 consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke who had a baseline MRI obtained within 12 hours of symptom onset, a follow-up imaging on Day 4 or later, and diffusion-weighted imaging/mean transmit time mismatch on initial MRI. Lesion growth was calculated as percentage of mismatch tissue that underwent infarction on follow-up (percentage mismatch lost). Multivariable analyses explored the effect of gender and other predictors of tissue outcome on percentage mismatch lost.
There was no difference in median percentage mismatch lost between men (19%) and women (11%; P=0.720). There was, however, an interaction between gender and age; median percentage mismatch lost was 7% (0% to 12%) in women and 18% (1% to 35%) in men younger than the population median (71 years, P=0.061). The percentage mismatch lost was not different between men and women ≥71 years old (25% in both groups). The linear regression model revealed gender (P=0.027) and the interaction between age and gender (P=0.023) as independent predictors of percentage mismatch lost.
There is an age-by-gender interaction in tissue outcome after ischemic stroke; brain infarcts in women <70 years grow approximately 50% less than infarcts in their male counterparts. These findings extend the well-known concept that there is a differential age-by-gender effect on stroke incidence, mortality, and functional outcome to the tissue level.
BACKGROUND: Many patients with stroke are precluded from thrombolysis treatment because the time from onset of their symptoms is unknown. We aimed to test whether a mismatch in visibility of an acute ischaemic lesion between diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) MRI (DWI-FLAIR mismatch) can be used to detect patients within the recommended time window for thrombolysis.
METHODS: In this multicentre observational study, we analysed clinical and MRI data from patients presenting between Jan 1, 2001, and May 31, 2009, with acute stroke for whom DWI and FLAIR were done within 12 h of observed symptom onset. Two neurologists masked to clinical data judged the visibility of acute ischaemic lesions on DWI and FLAIR imaging, and DWI-FLAIR mismatch was diagnosed by consensus. We calculated predictive values of DWI-FLAIR mismatch for the identification of patients with symptom onset within 4·5 h and within 6 h and did multivariate regression analysis to identify potential confounding covariates. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01021319.
FINDINGS: The final analysis included 543 patients. Mean age was 66·0 years (95% CI 64·7-67·3) and median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score was 8 (IQR 4-15). Acute ischaemic lesions were identified on DWI in 516 patients (95%) and on FLAIR in 271 patients (50%). Interobserver agreement for acute ischaemic lesion visibility on FLAIR imaging was moderate (κ=0·569, 95% CI 0·504-0·634). DWI-FLAIR mismatch identified patients within 4·5 h of symptom onset with 62% (95% CI 57-67) sensitivity, 78% (72-84) specificity, 83% (79-88) positive predictive value, and 54% (48-60) negative predictive value. Multivariate regression analysis identified a longer time to MRI (p<0·0001), a lower age (p=0·0009), and a larger DWI lesion volume (p=0·0226) as independent predictors of lesion visibility on FLAIR imaging.
INTERPRETATION: Patients with an acute ischaemic lesion detected with DWI but not with FLAIR imaging are likely to be within a time window for which thrombolysis is safe and effective. These findings lend support to the use of DWI-FLAIR mismatch for selection of patients in a future randomised trial of thrombolysis in patients with unknown time of symptom onset.
FUNDING: Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung, National Institutes of Health.
The aim was to investigate the feasibility of making relative cerebral blood flow (rCBF) maps from MR images acquired with short TR by measuring the initial arrival amount of Gd-DTPA evaluated within a time window before any contrast agent has a chance to leave the tissue. We named this rCBF measurement technique utilizing the early data points of the Gd-DTPA bolus the "early time points" method (ET), based on the hypothesis that early time point signals were proportional to rCBF. Simulation data were used successfully to examine the ideal behavior of ET while monkey's MRI results offered encouraging support to the utility of ET for rCBF calculation. A better brain coverage for ET could be obtained by applying the Simultaneous Echo Refocusing (SER) EPI technique. A recipe to run ET was presented, with attention paid to the noise problem around the time of arrival (TOA) of the contrast agent.
Time of arrival (TOA) of a bolus of contrast agent to the tissue voxel is a reference time point critical for the Early Time Points Perfusion Imaging Method (ET) to make relative cerebral blood flow (rCBF) maps. Due to the low contrast to noise (CNR) condition at TOA, other useful reference time points known as relative time of arrival data points (rTOA) are investigated. Candidate rTOA's include the time to reach the maximum derivative, the maximum second derivative, and the maximum fractional derivative. Each rTOA retains the same relative time distance from TOA for all tissue flow levels provided that ET's basic assumption is met, namely, no contrast agent has a chance to leave the tissue before the time of rTOA. The ET's framework insures that rCBF estimates by different orders of the derivative are theoretically equivalent to each other and monkey perfusion imaging results supported the theory. In rCBF estimation, maximum values of higher order fractional derivatives may be used to replace the maximum derivative which runs a higher risk of violating ET's assumption. Using the maximum values of the derivative of orders ranging from 1 to 1.5 to 2, estimated rCBF results were found to demonstrate a gray-white matter ratio of approximately 3, a number consistent with flow ratio reported in the literature.
Stroke is a leading cause of death and adult morbidity worldwide. By defining stroke symptom onset by the time the patient was last known to be well, many patients whose onsets are unwitnessed are automatically ineligible for thrombolytic therapy. Advanced brain imaging may serve as a substitute witness to estimate stroke onset and duration in those patients who do not have a human witness. This article reviews and compares some of these imaging-based approaches to thrombolysis eligibility, which can potentially expand the use of thrombolytic therapy to a broader population of acute stroke patients.