The Steps to MRI Preparation

If you have an MRI scheduled and have never had this procedure performed, there are a few things that you are probably wondering. What is going to happen? Will it hurt? What should I tell my doctor? Can I have an MRI performed?

Don’t worry, we have had these questions asked to us many times so we have compiled some helpful answers concerning MRI preparation and procedure. We understand that having these kind of procedures performed can be frightening, especially for the first time. So we want to help minimize your fears and anxiety so that we can gain conclusive results and have you return to our office for your future medical imaging needs.

The first thing you are probably wondering at an MRI is “Will it hurt?”

The answer? No! Not even a little bit.

MRIs are a completely non-invasive medical procedure designed to take images of the interior of the body without making a single incision. MRIs use the power of magnetic fields along with sound waves in order to procure images of the body’s organs and tissues. This means no pain at all. Sometimes contrast material has to be used with a patient, in which cause we will administer it intravenously and besides a cool sensation at the injection site that is all!

The most uncomfortable part for most patients is lying still for the procedure. It can be frustrating but it is crucial that patients lie as still as possible while being examined. Movement can drastically reduce the clarity of the MR images. For some, the hardest part of having an MRI performed is the closed in feeling that can come upon entering the MRI chamber. If you are a person that suffers from claustrophobia and you think these feelings might interfere with your appointment, ask our doctors about an open MRI to help keep you comfortable.

Now before the procedure begins, be sure to look over these few rules before the procedure actually begins.

  • Before your MRI exam, remove all accessories including hair pins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, wigs, dentures. During the exam, these metal objects may interfere with the magnetic field, affecting the quality of the MRI images taken.
  • Notify your technologist if you have:
    • any prosthetic joints – hip, knee
    • a heart pacemaker (or artificial heart valve), defibrillator or artificial heart valve
    • an intrauterine device (IUD),
    • any metal plates, pins, screws, or surgical staples in your body.
    • tattoos and permanent make-up.
    • a bullet or shrapnel in your body, or ever worked with metal.
    • if you might be pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant.
    • if you are claustrophobic. Some patients who undergo MRI in an enclosed unit may feel confined. If you are not easily reassured, a sedative may be administered.

It is really important that you be honest with your doctor about the above mentioned details. Not only can they damage the machine but they can also interfere with your images. Just remember that the procedure is totally painless and lasts only 30-45 minutes if you follow our MRI preparation guide. The information gained from these imaging procedures can be extremely beneficial, all without making a single incision. At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we use the Siemens 3T MRI, the most powerful MRI on the clinical market today. Not only are you getting access to state of the art equipment and years of radiology experience but our prices will beat that of the big metro hospitals.

If you would like to book your MRI appointment, you can do so by calling our office at 504-833-8111 or you can book online with our Request Appointment feature.

What is the Difference Between MRI and MRA?

Did you know that if you took the blood vessels of an average adult and spread them out, they would be over 100,000 miles long! That is a lot of arteries, vessels, veins and capillaries to look through when a patient comes to us needing vascular imaging. That is why both patient and doctor appreciate the benefits that MRA technology allow.

Because they are so closely related, trying to understand the difference between MRI and MRA procedures can be difficult for the average patient. But when we look closer, there are actually a lot of differences but a lot of similarities as well. So let us begin with, what is an MRA?

MRA or magnetic resonance angiogram is when MRI technology is used to image the blood vessels of the body. Without making a single incision, physicians can see the many miniscule and convoluted pathways of blood through the body clearly. Why is this important? The way blood moves through the body is telling of the body’s current state. Is blood moving too quickly? The patient could have high blood pressure that could lead to a cardiovascular episode. Is the blood moving too slowly? There could be a blockage in the body that if left untreated, could become a coronary thrombosis, or in layman’s terms, a heart attack.

In many cases, other methods of imaging like CT scans and ultrasounds cannot obtain the same kind of information that an MRA can. A MRA is a form of MRI testing, meaning it still uses radio waves along with a rotating magnetic field in order to image the blood vessels of the body. So in many ways, MRI and MRA are similar but MRA is used primarily for the imaging the vascular system. MRIs are used for multiple reasons like imaging the musculoskeletal system and soft tissue examination.

The difference between an MRA and MRI become more clear when we understand what an MRA can see and how it is administered. MRAs examine the blood pathways between the brain, kidneys and legs and often use contrast material to help vessels and potential blockages to be highlighted. Contrast material is not used in every MRI that is performed and MRIs usually have a larger area to examine rather than a single vein or vessel. Contrast material is useful to help highlight problem areas and to help physicians perform other procedures with a clear image of the area. Contrast material assists physicians and technicians when they are searching for the following:

  • Clots, bulges or aneurysms or fatty buildups in the blood vessels leading the brain.
  • Tears or aneurysms in the aorta leading away from the body
  • Stenosis or narrowing of the blood vessels in the body
  • Other anomalies and abnormalities in the blood vessels

MRAs and MRIs do not use radiation in order to make images and they take about the same amount of time, about 30 minutes, depending on the patient’s movements and what is being examined. Be sure to take out all metallic objects in the body and tell your doctor if you think you may be pregnant.

So you can see there are a few differences between an MRI and MRA but they both help patients live healthier lives and help doctors give quality treatment.

If you have more questions about the difference between MRI and MRA, please feel free to check out MRI Service Page for more information. You can also call our office at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday 8AM to 6 PM to speak with a representative from Doctors Imaging.

Should You Schedule an Open MRI?

MRI technology with its many capabilities, is one of the most requested medical imaging procedures for facilities like Doctors Imaging. There are varying kinds of MRI systems so that you, as the patient, have options, and as such can make along with your doctor, the best choice for your needs.

Did you know there isn’t just one kind of MRI machine? There are various manufacturers as well as range of capabilities when it comes to choosing an imaging facility. For example, at Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we use a Siemens 3.0T MRI machine. This differs from other hospitals and imaging facilities, because many use a 1.5T MRI. While these can still get the job done, 3.0T means that the machine is designed to look into the body with very high resolution. These machines are more expensive for us as a facility, and yet, we still offer better pricing as well as better equipment than you would receive at many hospitals

Not only do we offer powerful MRI capabilities, we offer different kinds of MRIs to fit your specific needs. For example, we offer both closed and open bore MRI services. Closed MRIs are the traditional form of MRI. This means that the magnet located within the machine surrounds the body. Most patients have no difficulty with the conventional machine and the images obtained are better than open systems. When necessary, we also offer open bore MRI scans, meaning that the machine allows the patient free access during the scan and leaves open a small portion of space. Open bore MRIs are offered to patients that have a claustrophobic feelings while in the machine. These kind of anxious feelings can have a negative effect on the image quality especially if a patient is breathing heavily or moving within the chamber. Furthermore, we at Doctors Imaging do not want a patient to have an uncomfortable experience at our facility. We are committed to providing the best quality of care for our patients, so feel free to ask your physician if a friend or family member can remain nearby or if you would like calming music and in extreme cases we can offer a light sedative to relax nervous patients.

However the benefits of an open bore MRI are obvious, but there are some disadvantages. The primary disadvantage of an open MRI versus a closed MRI is that an open MRI’s images will not be as high quality as its counterpart.

We also offer diffusion tensor imaging at Doctors Imaging, an advanced form of MRI used for brain injuries and concussions. Diffusion tensor imaging is used to trace the movement of water in the brain pathways when routine MRI examinations and CT studies are normal. Because hydrogen atoms move in a specific way in the brain, when there is a noted disruption, doctors can be confident that they have found a microscopic injury site and can treat the head injury better and faster.

If you have more questions about open versus closed MRIs, take a look at our MRI service page for more information. If you would like to schedule an MRI appointment, you can use our Request Appointment feature or you can call our office at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday to speak with a representative of Doctors Imaging.

The Dangers of Fake Supplements for Your Long-Term Health

There are different definitions of healthy all across the nation. Some think that gluten-free is best, others think that organic foods is only way to go. Some argue for a paleo diet while others praise the value of ‘everything in moderation.” What most do have in common is the understanding that everyone just wants to be as healthy as possible. It is this popular desire that causes some companies to market ineffective products and fake supplements to consumers. This is where the danger begins.

Because the FDA cannot regulate the supplement industry, there is no check for these supplements and their claims, leaving it up the consumer to decide what is healthy and fits their goals. This would be fine if the advertising and marketing of these supplements was absolutely truthful. In recent news, the New York Attorney General Office tested  “24 different products” from major retailers in their area such as Walmart and Walgreens and found that “all but 5 contained DNA that was unrecognizable or from a different plant than was on the label.” These findings prompted the Attorney General’s Office to send cease and desist orders to the retailers concerning these products.

It is not just what is misrepresented on the bottle, it is what ingredients are omitted that can cause danger too. As one op-ed New York Times writer explains “the FDA estimates that approximately 50,000 adverse reaction to dietary supplements occur every year” because many supplements contain other ingredients that consumers might be allergic to. If it is not possible allergens causing adverse reaction, it could be dangerous chemicals such as “lead, mercury, arsenic and selenium.”

The most popular kind of supplement on today’s market are weight loss supplements. The FDA has seen reports of “increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, stroke, seizure and death” in connection to weight loss supplements. Even famous TV doctor and personality Dr. Oz was under Senatorial constraint after promoting “miracle” and “magical” weight loss supplements on his show, while knowing that these products did not do what they and he claimed they could.

Another supplement controversy is calcium replacement pills. Osteoporosis is a common condition for women and the elderly, so like obesity and weight loss supplements, calcium supplements are marketed to those that live in fear of calcium deficiency. However,  several studies have linked these calcium supplements to negative effects like “increased risk of heart attacks and death from cardiovascular disease.” Some studies have shown that taking a calcium supplement may not be as dangerous if it is combined with vitamin D, a vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium. If not, calcium can be deposited in the arteries, leading to heart disease.

Heart disease is a condition that once began, is difficult to reverse. If you have been taking nutrition and dietary supplements for an extended period of time and are worried about your potential for heart attack or stroke, consult with your physician about having medical imaging procedures such as a Calcium Score Heart Scan to assess your cardiovascular health. If you are noticing adverse reactions while using these supplements, stop taking them immediately and call you doctor with your symptoms. In addition, be sure to do research on any supplement before you begin a regime.

If you’d like to schedule an MRI for your cardiovascular health, feel free to call our offices at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday 8AM- 6PM or fill out our online form.

Can I Have an MRI During Pregnancy?

When we become injured or sick, it can be troubling, but with support and medicine we can treat ourselves and our symptoms. However, when a woman is pregnant and becomes sick or injured, there are more lives than hers to consider during treatment. There are lists of activities and products that pregnant woman have to avoid but should medical imaging be one of these? We are going to discuss the precautions and protections in place to help keep both mommy and baby healthy.

The first thing that probably comes to mind when considering the danger of medical imaging while pregnant is radioactive substances and procedures that utilize this kind of medicine. And when we think of radioactive medical procedures, the first that come to mind are X-rays, CTs and PET-CT scans. All of these procedures do have a radioactive element but before expectant mothers become worried, there are safety guidelines for their benefit.

Expectant mothers should not be barred from accessing potentially life-saving imaging procedures. As such, medical imaging equipment manufacturers and researchers work hard to give the best quality equipment along with the safest for all potential patients. Being the oldest form of medical imaging technology, X-rays have been used by pregnant women since their invention. Having your X-rays performed at a facility like Doctors Imaging in Metairie means that your doctor and our radiologists will seek alternatives to radiation and if unavoidable, to reduce the dosage of radiation exposure. As the rule with all medical procedures, if you think that you might be pregnant, be sure to let your doctor or the radiology technician know.

Other procedures that cause mothers to worry are CT scans and MRIs. CT scans do use X-ray  combined with computer technology in order to compose images for medical use. Once again, pregnant women should discuss with their doctor whether CT medical imaging is really needed.

The other procedure we hear the most concern about from expectant mother is having an MRI performed. We love to dispel this fear because MRIs are the safest procedure for pregnant women! Having an MRI during pregnancy is safe because MRIs, or magnetic resonance imaging, only uses the magnetic mechanic components along with radio frequencies in order to map the interior of the body. There is absolutely no radioactive components for mothers to worry about and the detail that can be gleaned from MRIs during pregnancy is both valuable and necessary. At Doctors Imaging, our 3T MRI machine is the most powerful MRI in clinical use and for the women that have problems with claustrophobia and need their MRI performed, we also have an open MRI at our facilities.

We don’t recommend that pregnant or breastfeeding mothers have a PET-CT scan. PET or positron emission tensor imaging CT scans use nuclear medicine in order to highlight differences between healthy and diseased tissue in the body and brain. Because the radioactive drug is administered directly into the body it can be harmful for baby. Physicians will find another diagnostic method for these cases.

We are committed to keeping both mommy and baby as comfortable and healthy as possible at Doctors Imaging. If you have more questions about X-rays, CT scans or MRI during pregnancy, please feel free to call our offices in Metairie at 504-833-8111, Monday through Friday or visit our Services Page for more information.

The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation and Insomnia

When we are babies, we spend about 16 to 17 hours a day just sleeping. Our brains are developing at a quick rate and we need sleep to help facilitate this rapid growth. We take a nap during the day until we reach elementary school age because we are still transitioning out of our infantile sleep cycles. Forgoing these naps usually results in mood disruptions and “crankiness”.  As we get older, the naps become intermittent but the danger of sleep deprivation is still a reality.

Sleep is the body’s biological healing system and is critical to healthy brain function. When we are teenagers, we spend the weekends sleeping until the early afternoon hours but as we get older the responsibilities and commitments of life take over, sleep becomes a precious commodity. That isn’t just a quirk of the generations, our bodies are biologically programmed for different sleep cycles at different points in our lives. Let’s discuss the benefits of proper sleeping schedules and the dangers of sleep deprivation and the damage of insomnia.

Sleep deprivation encompasses a number of symptoms. It might the student working part time and staying up late at night to study. It could be the single mother working graveyard shifts and inhaling caffeine to stay awake. It could be the overworked doctor, short-staffed and busy, forgoing steady sleep for the sake of the patients. It might be the laid off father tossing and turning all night thinking about the future. Sleep deprivation happens for a number of reasons and can affect anyone, but the effects can be severe if not treated.

Sleep deprivation affects almost every function of the body: cognitive, vision, digestion, and respiration, all of it because our bodies need sleep. Sleep is when our body does internal repairs. The brain needs to dream in order to filter and clean out the neurological clutter that fills our minds throughout the day. Sleep is necessary for the body to repair tissues and muscles, synthesize hormones and rejuvenate the brain. Lack of sleep can lead to “activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which can lead to a rise in blood pressure and an increase in cortisol secretion” both of these reactions are harmful to the body and the mind.

Thanks to research regarding the benefits of sleep, we can better understand the dangers of insomnia. Insomnia is more than just losing a few hours of sleep because your busy schedule can’t allow it, insomnia is a mental condition in which the mind cannot seem to transition from active mode to sleep mode. Insomnia affects as much as 20% of American adults. Not only does insomnia make the sufferer feel terrible and tired, it can lead to a host of health problems such as “obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.” Medications and therapies like hypnotherapy, meditation, and sleep training can help in some cases.

Complications of Insomnia

Research has shown that insomnia can be caused by a number of reasons: genetic history, allergies, gastrointestinal conditions, neurological conditions, medication and stress. Conditions like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and depression are contributed to the insomniac brain. MRI research of insomniac patients reveals that their ability to “modulate brain function and development including gene expression, protein translation and memory function.” These studies help to educate both physicians and patients about the danger of sleep deprivation and hopefully, find more remedies for the sleepless.

Understanding sleep disorders requires medical attention but there are over the counter and holistic approaches that have been shown to improve sleep quality. Working together with your physician to find the right formula is crucial in your mental and physical health. Furthermore, for those that regularly forgo sleep, remember that you are only doing yourself and your work a disservice. Sleep is a necessary function that needs to be regulated and maintained.

For more information about our MRI capabilities for sleeplessness or other conditions, contact Doctors Imaging in Metairie. Our offices are open Monday through Friday 9-6 and open on Saturdays from 9-12. You can call our office at 504-883-8111 or fill out our Request an Appointment Form on our site.

4 Myths About MRI Scans That are Just Plain Wrong

In the medical field, because there is so much research happening and so many different beliefs, there can be a lot of miscommunication. However, in this field, miscommunication can be dangerous because it dissuades people from using certain innovations and trusting physicians. So we are going to help dispel some of the common rumors and myths surrounding MRI scans.

You Can Get Radiation Exposure from MRIs

There is a common concern when it comes to medical imaging about radiation exposure. While this fear might have been substantial years ago, medical imaging has changed a lot. X-rays were the first form of medical imaging and did use radioactive material in order to create images. Today however, places like Doctors Imaging use only digital X-rays. CT scans also use radiation for their images but the amount is set to the lightest standards to avoid damage. However, radiation exposure is never a concern if you are having an MRI scan performed. MRIs or magnetic resonance imaging use magnetic power and radio waves to transmit information into images. There is no radiation used ever, so never fear your MRI appointment.

Open MRIs are as Good as Closed

A common complaint for those having MRIs performed is the claustrophobic feeling experienced upon entering the chamber. Luckily, low field open MRIs were created to combat this feeling. While it is appreciated that patients have options when it comes to their MRI preference, open or standing MRIs do not offer the same image quality as standard high field MRI machines. As we stated previously, MRIs use a magnetic circumference and radio waves in order to compile images. Because an open or standing MRI has an opening in that circumference, the magnetic field is slightly broken and the radio waves are not completely resounding back to the machine. While you can still get a relatively useful images, having a standard MRI is really the better option for the best diagnosis.

MRI Myths

All MRI Machines are the Same

Not all MRI machines are the same. Depending on what kind of facility you are having your medical imaging performed at, the machinery used can vary tremendously. At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we use the Siemens 3T MRI. This is the most powerful MRI scanning available in routine clinical use today. 3T stands for 3.0 Tesla, a unit of magnetic measurement. And since insurance companies charge based on the exam being done rather than the cost of the equipment being used, you can have the access to the highest quality exams for the same low cost when you have your MRI performed at Doctors Imaging.

MRIs are Only Good for Body Injuries

When you hear about MRIs in the news, you mostly hear about them surrounding professional athlete injuries. That is because MRIs are particularly good at accessing musculoskeletal injuries like soft tissue, ligaments, tendons and the like. But that isn’t all they can do. With advancements happening every day, MRIs are used for numerous reasons: studying mental conditions like bipolar disorder and Alzheimer’s disease, for tracking the brains nerve paths, for predicting certain cancers, and so much more. Doctors Imaging now offers advanced brain imaging for concussion patients with lingering problems after their injury. Not is MRI very safe to use multiple times but the information garnered from MRI scans is s crucial to understanding a variety of diseases and conditions.


So you can see, there is nothing to fear! MRIs are very safe and great for your medical imaging needs. If you have more concerns about  having an MRI performed, feel free to call our offices at 504-833-8111 or take a look at our MRI Service Page for more information. If you would like to schedule an MRI, you can fill out our Request an Appointment form and we will get back to you with scheduling as soon as possible!

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.

The Innovations Found in a Modern MRI Scan

Since its creation in the 1970s, the MRI scan has been providing more than just images for patients and doctors. Magnetic resonance imaging gets its appeal because images of the internal organs are easy to acquire through without incisions and without radiation exposure. Because of these reasons, MRI technology has been utilized beyond its earlier diagnostic purposes and has been outfitted to perform new tasks.

Most recently, in southern California at the UC San Diego Health System, the first MRI guided brain surgery was performed in real-time. The patient has Parkinson’s disease and was having a deep brain stimulator implanted. DBS implantations are done in order to give the body electric stimulation in effort to calibrate the brain’s electrical systems that may be complicated by diseases like Parkinson’s and MS.

This procedure in San Diego is the first of it’s kind. Usually patients are placed under anesthesia but are awake for the procedure. However, this method can be “exhausting” because of procedure’s length and the need to perform testing in the operating room. However, thanks to the technology of the MRI scan, surgeons are able to place the device with continuous real-time MRI monitoring all while the patient is sleeping. MRIs have long been used to guide biopsies and other small surgeries but this new venture into brain surgery could create a world of difference for both the patients undergoing surgery but the physicians that have to perform them.

Other ways that MRIs are being used for innovation are for cancer research and diagnosis. Behind heart disease, cancer is the leading cause of death among people over 30 globally. The benefit that MRI holds for this kind of research is that there is no radiation exposure. In one recent study, multi-parametric MRI has been extremely instrumental for detecting prostate cancer. Among American men, prostate cancer is the most common cancer. And because prostate cancer doesn’t cause other health problems like most cancers, most men aren’t aware they have it.

Multiparametric MRI has been proven to have greater sensitivity for areas where lesions exist and helping to guide biopsies or even eliminate unnecessary biopsies. This will benefit doctors in identifying those patients that might be high risk for prostate cancer.

MRIs can offer a host of benefits for all those seeking health answers. Everyone from athletes, to cancer patients, to brain surgeons use MRI technology in one way or another to help their patients or to gain more information about diseases and the body’s processes.

Doctors Imaging in Metairie is proud to offer our patients the advanced technology of the 3T MRI, the most powerful clinical MRI on the market as well as MRI services on Saturdays when most doctors offices and imaging facilities are closed. For more information on our MRI capabilities, including the new MRI Concussion Program, please visit the MRI Service Page or call our offices 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.