Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 December 2009
The advent of clinical MR imaging (MRI) in the 1980s heralded a new era in the ability to image the brain in vivo. MRI allows the detailed depiction of brain anatomy and pathology with unprecedented spatial resolution and soft-tissue contrast. It is also relatively safe and completely non-invasive. Nevertheless, the sensitivity and specificity with which structural MRI alone can define the wide range of neurological disease is limited.
The last decade has also seen the development of physiological MR techniques, whereby information concerning tissue function as well as structure is obtained. These techniques include diffusion, perfusion, and MR spectroscopy, which provide information on tissue ultra-structure, blood flow, and biochemistry, respectively. Information of this type supplements and complements that from clinical or structural imaging investigations, often providing important surrogate markers of disease pathophysiology or therapeutic response.
These techniques, previously only available in a research environment, are now accessible on most MR systems and can readily be incorporated into clinical imaging examinations. To date, however, there has been a paucity of literature in a single volume to support those wishing to apply physiological imaging studies in a clinical context. The aim of this book is to address the appropriate clinical application and interpretation of diffusion, perfusion, and spectroscopy.
The first section of the book describes the physical principles underlying each technique, as well as the potential associated artifacts and pitfalls.
The second section addresses applications in the different branches of clinical neuroscience. Chapters are grouped according to pathology, and are preceded by overviews that aim to place these methodologies in a broader clinical perspective.