Center Uses Cutting-Edge Neuroimaging Techniques to Diagnosis, Treat TBI

DCoE-NICoE Entrance-2.jpgWith as many as 212,000 servicemembers suffering a TBI over the last decade, military clinicians are searching for the most effective neuroimaging methods to diagnose and treat the injuries.

 “Our goal is to improve neuroimaging contribution to the diagnosis and treatment of TBI and PTS,” said Gerard Riedy, MD, the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) chief of neuroimaging, during a recent webinar held by DCoE.

The NICoE, opened its doors in Bethesda, MD, to patients in October of 2010 and provides help to patients with complex TBI as well as other psychological health conditions who have not recovered with conventional therapies offered elsewhere in the MHS. NICoE is equipped with advanced imaging equipment, including a Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography (PET-CT), MRI and Magnetoencephalography (MEG), which enables providers to view brain scans and images in multiple dimensions.

“We use all of these modalities in concert to do a full clinical and research evaluation of many of the patients that come to the NICoE here,” he explained.

Clinicians at NICoE are imaging much thinner sections of the brain than would be done in a routine MRI study. In doing so, Riedy said they have been “quite surprised” as to how many abnormalities they are finding in the brains of the 44 patients who underwent an MRI scan there since April.

“We have seen abnormalities related to TBI in about 64% of those of the patients we have imaged. Of those, 82% have had either normal prior imaging or no prior imaging. So it is basically a new imaging diagnosis for the patient,” he said.

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