News Release

Brain volume and memory impairment: conventional vs ultrafast 3D MRI sequences

Automated brain volumetry in memory-impaired patients shows significant differences and systematic biases between conventional and ultrafast 3D T1-weighted MRI sequences

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American Roentgen Ray Society

Axial MR Images at Basal Ganglia in 63-Year-Old Woman With Subjective Cognitive Impairment

image: Conventional 3D T1W image (A) without segmentation, (B) with segmentation by Neuroquant, and (C) with segmentation by Freesurfer; ultrafast 3D-EPI T1W image (D) without segmentation, (E) with segmentation by Neuroquant, and (F) with segmentation by Freesurfer. Pallidum (asterisks) appears larger for Freesurfer (C, F) than for NeuroQuant (B, E), but appears similar in size between two sequences for each software package. For both software packages, bilateral frontal and occipital cortices (B, C) at bone-tissue interface appear more color-coded for conventional than for ultrafast sequence, contributing to larger cortical gray matter for conventional sequence. view more 

Credit: American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS), American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR)

Leesburg, VA, January 5, 2022According to an article in ARRS’ American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR), brain volume measurements in memory-impaired patients show significant differences and systematic biases between conventional and ultrafast 3D T1-weighted (T1W) MRI sequences.

“In patients for whom severe motion artifact precludes use of the conventional sequence, the ultrafast sequence may be useful to enable brain volumetry,” wrote corresponding author Hye Jin Baek of Gyeongsang National University and Changwon Hospital in Korea. “However, the current conventional 3D T1W sequence remains preferred in patients who can tolerate the standard examination.”

To compare automated brain volume measurements between conventional 3D T1W and ultrafast 3D echo-planar imaging (EPI) T1W sequences, Baek and colleagues retrospectively studied 36 patients (25 women, 11 men; mean age, 68 years) with memory impairment who underwent 3-T brain MRI. Examinations included both isotropic 3D T1W using inversion recovery gradient-recalled echo sequence (slice, 1.0 mm; acquisition, 3:04) and, in patients exhibiting motion, isotropic 3D EPI T1W sequence (slice, 1.2 mm; acquisition, 0:30). Using NeuroQuant (CorTechs Labs) and FreeSurfer (Harvard University) software to automate brain segmentation, measurements were compared between sequences for nine regions in each hemisphere.

For automated brain volumetry from ultrafast 3D EPI T1W imaging, compared with conventional 3D T1W imaging, most regions demonstrated at least substantial agreement between the two sequences—yet also significantly different mean values, moderate or large effect sizes, and consistent systematic biases with wide limits of agreement.

“The variation between the two sequences was observed in subset analyses of 16 patients with, and 20 patients without, Alzheimer disease,” the authors of this AJR article added.

An electronic supplement to this AJR article is available here.

Founded in 1900, the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) is the first and oldest radiological society in North America, dedicated to the advancement of medicine through the profession of radiology and its allied sciences. An international forum for progress in medical imaging since the discovery of the x-ray, ARRS maintains its mission of improving health through a community committed to advancing knowledge and skills with an annual scientific meeting, monthly publication of the peer-reviewed American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR), quarterly issues of InPractice magazine, AJR Live Webinars and Podcasts, topical symposia, print and online educational materials, as well as awarding scholarships via The Roentgen Fund®.


Logan K. Young, PIO

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