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Editor's e-Note
There was quite a bit of news at RSNA 2019, and we’re still working our way through it. In this month’s newsletter, we’re focusing on some of the ways that MRI can lend insight to the inner workings of the brain; the conditions highlighted in this issue have stymied researchers for decades.

What’s the most interesting RSNA news you’ve seen? Let us know on Twitter and/or Facebook.

— Dave Yeager, editor
e-News Exclusive
News From RSNA 2019

Imaging Reveals Pathways Behind Depression

MRI illuminates abnormalities in the brains of people with depression, potentially opening the door to new and improved treatments for the disorder, according to two studies presented at RSNA 2019. Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most common and debilitating mental disorders worldwide. Symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, diminished interest in daily activities, and fatigue. Limited understanding of the brain changes associated with MDD hinders the effectiveness of treatments.

“Unfortunately, with current treatments, there is a large chance of relapse or recurrence,” according to Kenneth T. Wengler, PhD, of Columbia University in New York City, coauthor of one of the studies. “To develop new, more effective treatments, we must improve our understanding of the disorder.”

Wengler, along with colleagues at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University in New York, recently studied connections between MDD and disruptions in the blood-brain barrier (BBB), a network of blood vessels and tissue that protects the brain from foreign substances. Using an MRI technique they developed, intrinsic diffusivity encoding of arterial labeled spins (IDEALS), they looked at BBB water permeability, or the movement of water out of the blood vessels and into the brain tissue.

Comparison of results in 14 healthy individuals and 14 MDD patients found that less water moved from inside the blood vessels to outside in the MDD patients, representing disrupted BBB integrity. This difference was particularly large in two regions of the brain: the amygdala and the hippocampus.

“We observed disruption of the blood-brain barrier in gray matter regions known to be altered in major depressive disorder,” Wengler said. “This study helps improve our understanding of the pathophysiology of depression and can open new avenues of treatment for a disorder that affects over 100 million individuals worldwide.”

Full story »
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Electron Imaging of Chromatin Heralds New Understanding of DNA
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