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Editor's e-Note

Although CT and chest X-ray have grabbed most of the imaging headlines related to COVID-19, a recent study reminds us that MRI can be useful for evaluating secondary conditions caused by the virus. With the help of MRI, a group of specialists recently identified—in a 58-year-old patient—a form of encephalitis rarely seen in adults. The ACR recommends, however, that MRI only be used for highly specific reasons when it comes to COVID-19. Have you heard other MRI-related COVID-19 stories? Let us know on Twitter and/or Facebook.

Stay safe.

— Dave Yeager, editor

e-News Exclusive
MRI Links COVID-19 to Rare Form of Encephalitis

In a case report recently published online in Radiology, a team of doctors from Henry Ford Health System in Michigan describe a case of acute necrotizing encephalitis (ANE), a central nervous infection that mostly afflicts young children, that developed in a 58-year-old female patient who tested positive for COVID-19. The patient was hospitalized in serious condition. The case report is believed to be the first published case highlighting the association between encephalitis and COVID-19.

“This is significant for all providers to be aware of and looking out for in patients who present with an altered level of consciousness. We need to be thinking of how we’re going to incorporate patients with severe neurological disease into our treatment paradigm,” says Elissa Fory, MD, a neurologist at Henry Ford who was part of the team of medical experts involved in making the diagnosis. “This complication is as devastating as severe lung disease.”

The team included neuroradiologist Brent Griffith, MD; infectious disease specialist Pallavi Bhargava, MD; neurologist Shaneela Malik, MD; and neurologist Poonam Bansal, MD. Griffith, senior author of the published case report, says the paper shows “the important role that imaging can play in COVID-19 cases.”

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In This e-Newsletter
Other Imaging News
fMRI Yields Insights About Fear, Related Brain Processes
An opinion piece in Scientific American interprets a brain scan of rock climber Alex Honnold, whose death-defying exploits are chronicled in Free Solo, and extrapolates what functional MRI can tell us about the amygdala—and ways that biases, threats, and fear are processed within the human mind.

3D Printing Streamlines Recycling of Medical Isotope
At about $1,000 per gram, enriched molybdenum—which yields materials essential to radiology and medicine—is a precious commodity. According to a recent press release, scientists at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois have utilized 3D printing technology to maximize the yield of the isotope.

NASA Rolls Out Mars Rover With Next-Level Imaging Capabilities
NASA is reportedly putting the finishing touches on a Mars rover that features advanced stereoscopic multispectral imaging. The next-generation device, Perseverance, is poised to deliver unprecedented detail about our neighboring planet, according to the website Interesting Engineering.

Stretchable, Wearable RF Coils Improve MRI Experience
Rigid radio-frequency coils, routinely used during mammograms and other imaging procedures, have contributed to patient discomfort during examinations. Purdue University researchers report that they have developed RF coils that are formable and stretchable, with the potential to improve patients’ level of comfort considerably.
Worth Repeating
“This has always been a quick and safe procedure, but we’ve had to rethink it. And for the time being, we have backed off on doing feeding tubes, per these recommendations.”

Sidney L. Kahn, MD, of New England Endovascular Center, regarding new catheter guidelines from the Society of Interventional Radiology and other shifting priorities that herald a new normal, as described in BusinessWest
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