Diagnosing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with DTI MRI

Between our work, family, school, and social lives, fatigue is a common feeling among people. Fatigue is one of the most reported symptoms to physicians. Defined as “extreme tiredness or exhaustion,” it can be hard for doctors to tell if a patient is simply tired or if there is a contributing condition like chronic fatigue syndrome that may be causing their exhaustion.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is described as more than just the usual day-to-day tiredness. This condition’s symptoms include an exhaustion that is both debilitating and without cause. This means that although you may have extreme tired feelings, chronic fatigue is usually accompanied by impaired memory or concentration, dizziness, inability to stay awake or upright, and overwhelming exhaustion without exertion. Persisting longer than 6 months, this condition requires more than a caffeine fix and a good night’s sleep – it needs medical attention.

CFS can become more than just debilitating, it can be dangerous as well. Fatigue of this degree can become problematic when one is driving or operating heavy machinery. The other concern with most doctors in diagnosing symptoms in relation to chronic fatigue is that they can resemble other diseases like lyme disease, major depressive disorder, lupus, and hypothyroidism. Hopefully the rampant confusion can be laid to rest finally thanks to innovative technologies like diffuse tensor imaging.

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a form of advanced MRI in which the nerve fibers of the brain can be specifically highlighted and imaged to determine possible damage from things like concussions or conditions like chronic fatigue. In the same way that MRIs use sound waves and computer technology in order to image the internal organs, diffuse tensor imaging focuses on the nerve fibers in the brain and is able to image them with startling detail. Where MRIs can show the musculoskeletal and vascular system, going even deeper into the nerves is where doctors can see definitive proof of chronic fatigue syndrome. In the results found in one recent study, those suffering from this syndrome had more white matter in their brain and had “two connection points in the brains…were thicker than the same connection in healthier patients. In essence, “the more abnormal the tract, the worse the fatigue.”

When the nerve fibers in the brain are experiencing irregularity or degeneration, in combination with the aforementioned symptoms, doctors can diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome faster and with more accuracy. The time delay and inconsistency that was once prominent with this condition can now be eliminated thanks to the advanced MRI technology made by diffusion tensor imaging. Doctors Imaging currently offers DTI for concussion evaluations.

If you’re in the Metairie, Louisiana area, you can schedule your MRI online today, or by calling Doctors Imaging at 504-883-8111.