Researchers Use Novel Imaging Technique to Predict Spinal Disc Degeneration


Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps, which directly evaluated the movements and dynamics of the water in the intervertebral disk and other spinal structures. A group of scientists used a new imaging technique to assess the patients with lumbar spine degeneration. The study was published in the issue of the journal PLOS ONE.

Byvaltsev and Preul secured the first ever International neurosurgery scientific project on spinal disc degeneration, which was funded by the Russian Science Federation. Spinal disc degeneration is the most common medical diseases, and responsible for many economic and social impact. Over the past few months, hundreds of Dr Byvaltsev's patients were imaged in Irkutsk and Barrow's Department of Neurosurgery Research. Data of these patients were used for analysis.  

Change in the water content in the intervertebral disk was believed to be the primary cause of the spinal disc degeneration. So the research team assessed the movements and dynamics of the water in the intervertebral disk and other spinal structures by the using a new magnetic resonance imaging technique, called apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps, which enabled the researchers for the precise assessment and to correlate with degeneration.

Dr Preul said, “We are improving our understanding of one of the most common illnesses to affect humans which is spinal disc degeneration.” The novel imaging techniques such as MRI ADC mapping would provide better insight of the disease conditions that could help the physician to treat patients with degenerated disc and other degenerative spine conditions.

The leading researcher Dr Evgenii Belykh concluded that the comparison of imaging findings with the histology and biomarkers contribute to the disk degeneration would aid the physicians to identify and predict the disease earlier and help to choose the better treatment option for the patients. The present study would lead to the imaging of larger numbers of patients to confirm the spinal disc degeneration and to study further applications for ADC mapping in the spine.

**The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps accurately assessed spinal degeneration patients.**