Do You Have Concussion Symptoms?

Concussions (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury or mTBI) have long been a mysterious and worrying injury for doctors to examine. Concussion symptoms can range anywhere from unconsciousness to memory loss to a slight headache. There are such a range of symptoms that it can be a difficult task for physicians to medically diagnose a concussion.

Concussions are unusual for most people but for athletes, some workers, and extreme sport enthusiasts, a concussion is just part of the territory. The problem with this is that as more research is being done on the long-term effects of concussions on professional athletes, we are learning that these bumps on the noggin can have a much deeper consequence. Any kind of traumatic brain injury is cause for concern but now Doctors Imaging has a beneficial new technology that can help determine the degree of brain injury and nerve damage due to a concussion. It’s called Diffusion Tensor Imaging or DTI/MRI.

Doctors Imaging was the first to introduce New Orleans to a 3.0T MRI and we added Diffusion Tensor Imaging to our list of services in 2016. Where standard MRIs are well-equipped to obtain useful and comprehensive images of brain tissue, DTI is an advanced form of MRI technology that improves diagnostic practices, particularly in the diagnosis and recovery of concussions.

Where most MRIs can tell if there is tissue damage or bleeding, DTI capabilities are able to explore the possibility of nerve damage in very specific areas of the brain’s white matter. Along with internal bleeding, nerve damage is the primary concern for physicians when dealing with a concussed patient. If you were to look at former football players or boxers, you notice that they have a higher prevalence of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease) and other neurological disorders as they age, and many believe this is from repeated exposure to head and back trauma. DTI MRIs are able to focus on the connecting circuits of the brain and localize nerve damage. By recognizing this nerve damage, doctors can keep a close eye on their patient and help them during the recovery from their injury.

One side effect that most doctors are very concerned about when they are seeing a concussed patient is axonal injury. Axonal injury is when a brain injury occurs that causes extensive lesions in the white matter tracts in a widespread or localized area. Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is so worrying because it can be indicative of long-term brain deficiency. DAI occurs in almost half of all concussion cases and now with this kind of advanced MRI technology, doctors will be able to make diagnoses and recoveries easier and more beneficial.

Like other MRIs, DTI does not use radiation, is non-invasive and has extremely high success rates. So if you or someone you know has concussion symptoms, be sure to give Doctors Imaging a call and have your DTI appointment made. If you have more questions or would like to speak to a representative at Doctors Imaging, feel free to call at 504-883-8111.

What is an MRI and How Does It Work?

If you have ever taken a nasty fall, gotten into an accident, or even watched a medical drama on television then you have probably heard of an MRI. What is an MRI? MRI or magnetic resonance imaging, is a kind of medical imaging procedure that allows doctors to take images of the internal body in the effort to diagnosis, treat and heal patients.

You may be wondering “Isn’t that what an X-ray does?” You’re right, X-rays can see into the body, take images that can be used by doctors. But X-rays are a specialized technique mostly to observe bone and the skeletal system of the body. What about the other structures of the body like organs, tissues, and ligaments? Until the creation of the MRI, these areas were not easily seen without surgery. That meant performing exploratory surgery often, in the hope that the answer would be revealed.

In the 1970s, medical researchers were wondering if there was a way to see into the body’s structure without surgery and without causing permanent damage. Dr. Raymond Damadian is credited as being the first physician to perform a body scan with the technology he referred to at the time as nuclear magnetic resonance or what we now know as magnetic resonance imaging or MRI.

When you are walking down the street and car drives by with an enhanced bass, you feel it? If the sound is strong enough, it can cause vibrations or movement in the area around it. It is in this idea that the capability of the MRI can be understood. Ultrasounds had been using similar technology for a number of years as well.

To begin, the human body is composed of many molecules and atoms all moving in a precise way. An MRI consists of a large circle magnet. Once the body of the patient has been placed in the chamber, the MRI machine blasts sound waves at the body. These sound waves disrupt the hydrogen molecules of the body but then they are immediately stabilized by the magnet. Then using computer software, an image can be produced showing where the molecules were. In essence, the machine sends hydrogen into a frenzy then makes it return to it’s original place and creates an image from the before, during and after data.

How is this technology helpful for the medical field? When looking for a tumor, a break, a tear, anything that shouldn’t be in the body, the area sends back data to the computer stating that is different. This lets doctors know that something has happened there that needs examination.

MRIs are primarily used to examine the musculoskeletal system of the body. They are painless, requiring no incision and they contain no exposure to radiation like traditional X-rays do.

Doctors Imaging continues its efforts to provide “state of the art” medical imaging equipment along with access to innovative methods of imaging. We were the first facility in the state to use a Siemen’s 3.0T MRI system, the strongest available for clinical use, and we are the first in the greater New Orleans to offer DTI or Diffusion Tensor Imaging, an advanced form of MRI that allows radiologists to chart the nerve pathways in the brain. We also offer an Open MRI for patients that are uncomfortable in the closed MRI. We are committed to maintaining updated equipment and groundbreaking methodologies for the residents of Louisiana.

If you have more questions about what MRIs can do, please view our MRI Service Page. If you would like to schedule an MRI, you may do so through our Request Appointment Portal or you can call our office in Metairie at 504-833-8111 to speak to a representative.

Explaining Concussions and Diffuse Tensor Imaging

DTI MRI are receiving more and more attention in the public and medical field because of the light they have shed on certain neurological and mental conditions. DTI MRI or diffuse tensor imaging MRI is an advanced form of MRI technology that is able to closely follow the flow of water throughout the brain’s pathways giving doctors a better understanding of brain injuries and connectivity.

DTI MRI is used for determining the extent of a brain injuries like concussions. Unlike traditional MRIs that use magnetic fields and computer technology to excite and then map the hydrogen  atoms of the body, DTI machinery tracks the pathway of water throughout the brain. Because water in the brain only goes in one direction, it is easier to track this motion and thus map the different nerve paths of the brain as they are very complex and convoluted.

Once the nerve pathways are clearly mapped, neurologists can see if there is damage, bleeds or symptoms of other neurological or mental conditions.

Thanks to DTI, concussions are now being thoroughly imaged. Before the advanced technology of DTI MRIs, concussions could be examined through traditional MRIs but small bleeds and nerve damage were always difficult to determine especially in the white matter areas of the brain. Now, doctors can track the nerve pathways in the brain with high clarity and understand the genetic and biological causes of some medical conditions.

DTI MRIs have been able to determine the brain abnormalities that lead to chronic fatigue syndrome. Feeling fatigued is not an unusual symptom to have, but for some people, fatigue cannot be fought with adequate sleep or stress-relieving activities. Thanks to imaging techniques, the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome have finally been identified. In one study, researchers found that those complaining of CFS symptoms had “lower white matter volume” as well as “high FA values (measurement of diffusion of water in the specific tract within the right hemisphere” suggesting that this is the area of the brain “the more abnormal the tract, the worse the fatigue.”

In another study, DTI MRI has been instrumental in uncovering the area of the brain that possibly contributes to autism. Scientists have determined that Fragile X syndrome is the leading cause of mental developmental issues and the most frequent cause of autism spectrum disorders. Their conclusion found that FMRP (fragile X mental retardation protein) is critical in brain development and that if the correct positioning of brain cells during the development of the cortex is not made, autistic traits can emerge as a child becomes older.

These factors could not have been studied in such high detail without the help of DTI MRI imaging. The advanced technology of DTI MRI could be finding the causes and cures for more diseases and conditions in years to come.

Doctors Imaging in Metairie is the first facility in Louisiana to offer this service so if you have more questions about how DTI works or what it can do for you, feel free to call Doctors Imaging at 504-833-8111 to speak with a representative.

What Else Can DTI MRI Discover?

DTI MRI are receiving more and more attention in the public and medical field because of the light they have shed on certain neurological and mental conditions. DTI MRI or diffuse tensor imaging MRI is an advanced form of MRI technology that is able to closely follow the flow of water throughout the brain’s pathways giving doctors a better understanding of brain injuries and connectivity.

DTI MRI is used for determining the extent of a brain injuries like concussions. Unlike traditional MRIs that use magnetic fields and computer technology to excite and then map the hydrogen  atoms of the body, DTI machinery tracks the pathway of water throughout the brain. Because water in the brain only goes in one direction, it is easier to track this motion and thus map the different nerve paths of the brain as they are very complex and convoluted.

Once the nerve pathways are clearly mapped, neurologists can see if there is damage, bleeds or symptoms of other neurological or mental conditions.

Thanks to DTI, concussions are now being thoroughly imaged. Before the advanced technology of DTI MRIs, concussions could be examined through traditional MRIs but small bleeds and nerve damage were always difficult to determine especially in the white matter areas of the brain. Now, doctors can track the nerve pathways in the brain with high clarity and understand the genetic and biological causes of some medical conditions.

DTI MRIs have been able to determine the brain abnormalities that lead to chronic fatigue syndrome. Feeling fatigued is not an unusual symptom to have, but for some people, fatigue cannot be fought with adequate sleep or stress-relieving activities. Thanks to imaging techniques, the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome have finally been identified. In one study, researchers found that those complaining of CFS symptoms had “lower white matter volume” as well as “high FA values (measurement of diffusion of water in the specific tract within the right hemisphere” suggesting that this is the area of the brain “the more abnormal the tract, the worse the fatigue.”

In another study, DTI MRI has been instrumental in uncovering the area of the brain that possibly contributes to autism. Scientists have determined that Fragile X syndrome is the leading cause of mental developmental issues and the most frequent cause of autism spectrum disorders. Their conclusion found that FMRP (fragile X mental retardation protein) is critical in brain development and that if the correct positioning of brain cells during the development of the cortex is not made, autistic traits can emerge as a child becomes older.

These factors could not have been studied in such high detail without the help of DTI MRI imaging. The advanced technology of DTI MRI could be finding the causes and cures for more diseases and conditions in years to come.

Doctors Imaging in Metairie is the first facility in Louisiana to offer this service so if you have more questions about how DTI works or what it can do for you, feel free to call Doctors Imaging at 504-833-8111 to speak with a representative.

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 evaluation and is working on future applications for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as well as Parkinsons Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

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

How Do MRIs Help Diagnose an Athlete’s Injuries?

Almost every week there is a news story on television or online that tells terrified fans that some of the best players on their teams face a debilitating injury. Athletic injuries are some of the worst to treat, not only because of the degree of injury but the damage an injury could have on a person’s quality of life and career.

As opposed to everyday employees injured on the job, professional athletes cannot sue their team for unemployment or for workman’s compensation. Instead they have to hope that the medical professionals around them can help them heal and get back to the game.

Every kind of sport has a tendency toward a specific injury. Because basketball players have to jump and pivot, they often suffer tearing in the ACL ligament. While a tear may not sound as a bad as a breakage, ligaments are fragile. They can repair but they will never be as strong as they once were. MRIs determine the extent of an ACL injury because they’re exceptional when examining the areas of soft tissue and ligaments. For example, Baylor Bears star Isaiah Austin was a first-round draft prospect until diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a condition that causes weakening of the connective tissues in the body. If Austin were a civilian, it may not have been a huge detriment to his life, but because of his professional basketball prospects, there is too much risk of his heart rupturing because of the connective tissue in the aorta and valves. MRIs along with genetic testing may have helped Austin to discover his Marfan Syndrome but he was still awarded as an Honorary Draft pick and given a job at the NBA.

In recent years, the brain damage that football players experience has become a popular news topic. Because of the routine, aggressive contact, like “horse collaring,” between players and the prevalence of head-to-head injury, more professional and college football players are having MRIs performed to assess any possible damage to the brain. Despite their heavy layers of protection from helmets and shoulder guards, the pure physics of football can explain the widespread damage. When two bodies are traveling at high speed and collide, the impact is the combined speed of the players. This kind of contact explains the predominance of concussions and brain injury to football players. In light of the overwhelming evidence, football safety engineers are working on designing high-impact protection helmets but the best thing for many of these players would be to have regular MRI exams utilizing special techniques like DTI (Diffusion Tensor Imaging) and SWI, another type of MRI. Mild brain trauma is not evident unless these special techniques are employed. Doctors Imaging is one of the few facilities in the South that offers these special MRI programs. Furthermore, the NFL has agreed to pay out settlements to former players with brain injuries stemming from their professional career. The extent of the damage was kept from them for many years, showing how dangerous this American pastime can be.

Baseball players are another sector of professional athletes often troubled by injury. Conditions like torn rotator cuffs and Tommy John elbow surgery are common in baseball because of the need to throw high-speed and long-distance pitches. Overexertion or incorrect motion causes these injuries and can easily put a player on the bench for a season. That is why it is important for players to have shoulders and elbows examined with MRI at the first sign of pain or discomfort. Leaving the problem to worsen can be the difference between a season on the bench and a career-ending injury.

While they may be well-paid and have all the spoils that come with professional athletics, they are also the most prone to career ending injuries. That is why having regular MRIs is one of the best treatment options for professional or college athletes.