Imaging repair: Developing and applying unconventional neuroimaging methods for quantitative assessment of tissue health

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a powerful tool for measuring changes in the brain and spinal cord that occur over the course of neurological disease. Unfortunately, conventional MRI is qualitative, so the biological cause of the changes seen on MRI is difficult to determine.

Damage to myelin, the substance that surrounds the nerve fibres (axons) of the brain and spinal cord to speed up signal transmission and protect the axons themselves, is a common feature for many neurological diseases. While myelin can be repaired, axonal damage is irreversible.

Dr. Kolind is focused on developing and applying advanced MRI techniques that provide measures related to myelin loss or axonal damage. The greater sensitivity and specificity afforded by these advancements provides critical information regarding the underlying processes in neurological disease. This insight is needed to understand such diseases and target treatment development. Further, the quantitative nature of these techniques may dramatically reduce the number of patients and time period required for successful demonstration of new therapies. This approach has tremendous potential for clinical trials and research studies in countless neurological diseases and injuries.