A recent Radiological Society of North America news release reports that new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research indicates changes in brain blood flow linked to vein abnormalities are not specific for multiple sclerosis (MS) and do not contribute to its severity, in spite of prior speculation to the contrary. Simone Marziali, MD, department of diagnostic imaging at the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Rome, notes that the MRI provided researchers with an accurate evaluation of cerebral blood flow that was vital for the study’s results.

To assess the role of brain blood flow alterations in MS patients, the release notes that Italian researchers compared brain blood flow in 39 MS patients and 26 health control participants. The results suggested that 25 MS patients and 14 healthy controls were positive for chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI). These findings were reportedly based on Color-Doppler-Ultrasound (CDU) findings. Researchers say they used dynamic susceptibility contrast-enhanced (DSC) MRI to assess blood flow in the brains of the study groups. 

The release notes that while CCSVI-positive patients exhibited a decrease in cerebral blood flow and volume when compared with their CCSVI-negative counterparts, there was no significant interaction between MS and CCSVI for any of the blood flow parameters. Researchers add that they also were unable to a pinpoint a correlation between the cerebral blood flow and volume in the brain’s white matter and severity of disability in MS patients.

Marziali reports that the study’s results indicate that CCSVI is not a pathological condition correlated with MS, adding, “This study clearly demonstrates the important role of MRI in defining and understanding the causes of MS.” In future research, using powerful and advanced diagnostic tools will be key in obtaining a better understanding of this and other diseases still under study, Marziali says.

Source: Radiological Society of North America