New software has been developed by scientists at the Royal Melbourne Hospital to detect tiny changes in the brain caused by Multiple Sclerosis, brain tumors and other disorders.
Dr Frank Gaillard, Hospital director of research, said that it is very important to find a right treatment for multiple sclerosis. To devise a treatment plan for multiple sclerosis, one has to look into hundreds of scans and compare the scans taken in the past with the present to detect the new lesions.
The new software is accurate, it compares the current scan with the one taken in the past and manipulate the differences. It assists the doctors by highlighting the areas that have undergone changes.
The researcher reviewed brain scans of 161 patients with the new technology to test its accuracy. The technology detected new brain lesions in 25 percent of patients who had been classified as stable.
"What we do now is put the scans side by side and compare them visually - essentially, we are playing 'spot the difference' with scans that don't match up," said Galliard.
The investigator also added, "The job of the radiologist, instead of being one trying to identify the lesions, is ... to use our normal clinical skills in assessing whether that lesion is actually a demyelinating lesion or caused by something else."
According to the study published in the American Journal of Radiology
, the presence of new lesions would have prompted 80 percent of the neurologists to alter the treatment provided to the patients.
Dr Anneka van der Walt, Neurologist at Royal Melbourne Hospital, said, "It is important to detect new lesions because they are the indicators of the effectiveness of the administered drug as well as to know the exact condition and long-term outcome of the disease in patients."