Tag Archives: MRI

How Facebook — yes, Facebook — might make MRIs faster

Facebook’s artificial intelligence lab is working with New York University’s medical school to make MRI exams 10 times faster, which, if successful, would allow radiologists to complete a test in minutes.

  @mattmcfarlandAugust 20, 2018: 11:14 AM ET

Doctors use MRI — shorthand for magnetic resonance imaging — to get a closer look at organs, tissues and bones without exposing patients to harmful radiation. The image quality makes them especially helpful in spotting soft tissue damage, too. The problem is, tests can take as long as an hour. Anyone with even a hint of claustrophobia can struggle to remain perfectly still in the tube-like machine that long. Tying up a machine for that long also drives up costs by limiting the number of exams a hospital can perform each day.

photo of high speed MRI machine for article, How Facebook -- yes, Facebook -- might make MRIs fasterComputer scientists at Facebook (FB) think they can use machine learning to make things a lot faster. To that end, NYU is providing an anonymous dataset of 10,000 MRI exams, a trove that will include as many as three million images of knees, brains and livers.

Researchers will use the data to train an algorithm, using a method called deep learning, to recognize the arrangement of bones, muscles, ligaments, and other things that make up the human body. Building this knowledge into the software that powers an MRI machine will allow the AI to create a portion of the image, saving time.

“You could be in and out in five minutes. It would be a real game-changer.” Daniel Sodickson, vice chair for research in radiology at NYU School of Medicine, told CNNMoney.

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Early MRI for Lower Back Pain Often Yield Expensive, Unnecessary Treatment and Longer Disability Periods

Must be music to my chiropractor’s ears!

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colorful x-ray illustration of spineHopkinton, MA (WorkersCompensation.com) – Research conducted by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety finds that inappropriate early use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to diagnose work-related lower back pain correlates with higher medical costs, unnecessary and ineffective procedures, and prolonged disability.

The most recent study published in Spine (© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins) examined more than 3,000 workers compensation claims for disabling lower back pain over the course of a full year. Claims in which MRI was performed either within the first 30 days of pain onset or when there was no specific medical condition justifying the MRI yielded significantly higher medical costs, even after controlling for severity. The study found these early or non-indicated MRIs led to a cascade of medical services in the six-month period post-MRI that included electromyography, nerve conduction testing, advanced imaging, injections or surgery. These procedures often occurred soon after the MRI and were 17 to nearly 55 times more likely to occur than in similar claims without MRI.

“Being a highly sensitive test, MRI will quite often reveal common age-related changes that have no correlation to the anatomical source of the lower back pain,” said Glenn S. Pransky, MD, MOccH, Center for Disability Research. “Leading evidence-based practice guidelines for lower back pain recommend against early MRI except for ‘red flag’ indications, such as severe trauma, infection or cancer. These guidelines suggest that, following a month trial of conservative treatment, MRI may then be considered if symptoms of sciatica/radiculopathy persist, but only to guide epidural steroid injections, or to provide more information if surgery is being considered. Because of a lack of evidence for improving care, the guidelines recommend that MRI is not indicated for non-radicular, non-specific back pain.”

Barbara S. Webster, lead author of the Research Institute’s studies said, “Adhering to guideline recommendations lessens this cascade effect of medical care where potentially unnecessary tests or procedures drive-up medical costs without evidence that they help to effectively treat the pain or shorten disability duration.”

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