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Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Brain Physiology

Hanzhang Lu, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Radiology, Johns Hopkins University

Presented: August 24, 2017 

ABSTRACT: This presentation will describe two physiological imaging techniques our laboratory has recently developed. One is the measurement of brain oxygen saturation and metabolism. The other is the assessment of cerebral vascular properties using gas-challenges. The brain is one of the most metabolically active organs in the human body. Abnormal brain metabolism is a hallmark of many brain disorders, such as brain tumor, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. In this work, I will present an MRI based approach that is capable of measuring brain metabolism non-invasively (without any exogenous contrast agent), rapidly (<5 minutes in scan time), and reliability (test-retest coefficient of variation <4%).Clinical applications of the technique will be demonstrated. In the second half of this presentation, I will present recent development in respiratory challenges in the context of brain MRI. Respiratory challenges can be used as a “stress test” for the assessment of several aspects of brain physiology. For example, inhalation of a small amount of carbon dioxide, i.e. mild hypercapnia, can be used to examine the brain’s perfusion reserve. Hyperoxia, inhalation of a higher content of oxygen, can be used for the measurement of cerebral blood volume (CBV). The inhaled gas can also be used as a MRI contrast agent for bolus tracking and provide transit time information of the blood flow. These physiological biomarkers have important applications in brain aging and diseases.

SPEAKER BIO: Dr. Hanzhang Lu obtained his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in 2004. He received his postdoctoral training at the Center for Biomedical Imaging, New York University Medical Center. He was on the faculty of UT Southwestern Medical Center from 2005 to 2014. In 2015, he joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Currently, he is a Professor in the Department of Radiology at JHU. Dr. Lu’s research is focused on the development of novel MRI techniques to evaluate the brain’s physiology as well as their clinical applications.

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