MRI Technology Used to Diagnose Parkinson’s Disease
Researchers at the Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre at The University of Nottingham have discovered a new and accurate way to test for Parkinson’s disease. By using MRI technology, the researchers were able to identify a specific imaging feature which resembles the tail of swallow. Referred to as the ‘swallow tail sign’, the sign is absent in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Until now, diagnosing Parkinson’s disease in a clinical setting has been difficult and limited to expensive technology and medical techniques. The diagnosis can be especially challenging early in the course of the condition and in tremor dominant cases. Although there are non-licensed diagnostic techniques that are accurate and reliable, none of them have demonstrated the ease of use which would allow the process to become a standard clinical practice.
By using MRI technology to search for the missing swallow’s tail, hospitals around the country will have access to the required technology. Since these changes can be detected with 3T MRI technology, a standard technology, hospitals won’t have to purchase any additional machinery. Currently, there is no cure, but drugs and treatments can be taken to manage the symptoms.
According to Dr. Stefan Schwarz, one of the lead researchers, this is a breakthrough in the medical field. Currently, Parkinson’s disease is mostly diagnosed by identifying symptoms. Now, imaging tests can be used to confirm the diagnosis without high costs and potentially harmful radiation.
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