An MRI biomarker can predict motor development risks, including cerebral palsy, in a much more objective way than existing diagnostic tools, reports Physics World.
A new software quantification tool has been developed by researchers in the US for analyzing white-matter abnormalities in very preterm babies. This magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) biomarker can predict motor development risks, including cerebral palsy, in a much more objective way than existing diagnostic tools.
Identifying biomarkers of CP at an early stage of life could significantly increase the quality of life for both affected patients and their families. Early intervention by physical and occupational therapy could take advantage of early neuroplasticity and mitigate symptoms such as tremors, stiff muscles, or difficulty performing precise movements.
To address these issues, a group of researchers led by Nehal Parikh, a neonatologist at the Perinatal Institute, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, has been developing better diagnostic tools using advanced imaging risk factors to improve outcome prediction. They have developed an algorithm that can analyze structural MRI scans of preterm infants to predict their risk of motor development abnormalities based on spotting and quantifying brain defects.
In the study, the team enrolled very prematurely born infants and performed brain structural MRI scans at the term-equivalent age. These images were fed into an algorithm created using a probabilistic brain atlas constructed specifically for a very preterm infant brain.
Read more in Physics World.