Printer Friendly

Seeing the nerves within us.

Using a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique, a team of British and American researchers has obtained the clearest images yet of nerves within the body. Lead researcher Aaron G. Filler of the University of Washington in Seattle says that with modifications, commercial MRI scanners may help physicians diagnose and treat nerve-related pain and weakness much more effectively. In ordinary MRI scans and X-ray images, nerves are difficult to distinguish from other tissues, Filler says.

This cross section of a human leg highlights the sciatic nerve (bright area in the center), which channels nerve impulses to the pelvis, legs, and feet. By adjusting the magnetic fields and radio pulses used to probe the body during MRI scans, the researchers can selectively de-emphasize various tissues, leaving the image of the nerves shining out "like the smile of the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland," Filler explains.

MRI scanners can combine these cross sections into three-dimensional images of the body's nerve networks. This technique may eventually help surgeons locate and repair the damaged or squeezed nerves that cause lower-back pain, for example. The researchers describe the new technique in the March 13 Lancet.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:magnetic resonance imaging used to obtain clear image
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Mar 20, 1993
Words:191
Previous Article:Another pulsar in the neighborhood.
Next Article:New probes of gas additive's toxicity.
Topics:


Related Articles
'New window' on earth's climatic record.
Whipping up an image of a foam's interior.
Imaging method really shows some nerve.
FUNCTIONAL MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING AND SPECTROSCOPIC IMAGING OF THE BRAIN: APPLICATION OF fMRI AND fMRS TO READING DISABILITIES AND EDUCATION.
Bright spots & black holes: what doctors are learning from advanced MRI.
Primary cardiac hydatid disease: cross-sectional imaging features.
Appearance of previously injured posterior cruciate ligaments on magnetic resonance imaging.
Brain tuberculomas due to miliary tuberculosis.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters