USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute Newsletter / Fall 2020
In a study published October 12 in the Journal of Neuroscience, an INI team found that impaired blood flow in the brain is correlated with the buildup of tau tangles. The team, led by Judy Pa, PhD, examined MRI and PET images, as well as cerebrospinal fluid. The results point to the importance of managing vascular risk factors—like high blood pressure, smoking, and physical inactivity—to aid in Alzheimer’s prevention. The study’s authors include INI Director Arthur W. Toga, PhD, Daniel Albrecht, PhD (lead author), Kay Jann, PhD, Lisette Isenberg, PhD, Teresa Monreal, PhD, and Joy Stradford.
The INI’s 7Tesla Siemens Magnetom Terra magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner is the first 7T system to receive accreditation from the American College of Radiology for neuroimaging. ACR accreditation is recognized as the “gold standard” in medical imaging, giving patients and physicians the assurance that the equipment is being maintained and operated to maximize image quality and patient safety.
Read more about the accreditation of our 7T scanner.
A new application of the large-scale datasets aggregated by the Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) consortium, created by INI Associate Director Paul Thompson, PhD, has revealed a common molecular signature that spans six major disorders: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry in August, looked at cortical thickness data from more than 28,000 disease patients and healthy controls.
In another study fueled by data from the ENIGMA network, a team led by Julio Villalón-Reina, MD, PhD, and Neda Jahanshad, PhD, of the INI’s Imaging Genetics Center conducted a large-scale diffusion imaging study of 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS). The genetic disorder, caused by a small segment of missing DNA on chromosome 22, is the strongest known genetic risk factor for schizophrenia. The results of their analysis were published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
Learn more about their findings.
The INI’s Danny JJ Wang, PhD, and his team are developing a new technique for computed tomography (CT) perfusion scans, which measure blood flow to the brain using a high dose of radiation. Research on the approach, known as K-space Weighted Image Average (KWIA), is funded by the National Institutes of Health’s Small Business Innovation Research program. KWIA reduces the radiation dose of CT perfusion by about 75% without compromising imaging speed or quality. The first study of KWIA was published in IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging in July.
Read more about the new approach to CT scanning.
The INI’s Dominique Duncan, PhD, received a supplemental grant from the National Science Foundation as part of the COVID-ARC project, which will aggregate data from COVID-19 studies around the world, provide researchers with access to the findings of international colleagues, and help forge collaborations to advance progress against the disease. The new funding will support Glendy Ramirez and Michael Sinclair, teachers from Bravo Medical Magnet High School.
Read more about COVID-ARC.