About this Research Topic
Neuroimaging has revolutionized our ability to study the healthy and diseased central nervous system (CNS). However, some CNS disorders, such as neuropsychiatric disorders, some forms of trauma, mild cognitive impairment, and early stages of neurodegenerative diseases in the brain or spinal cord remain difficult to assess radiologically - mostly due to method insensitivity. Nevertheless, from histopathological postmortem examination of animal models or human tissue clear evidence exists that these subtle CNS disorders present microstructural remodeling, microvascular dysfunction, and metabolic disturbances. These histological findings reveal the cellular and subcellular underpinnings of these diseases at an early stage and may allow us to establish a plausible correlation with neurobehavioral symptoms. However, as a detailed histological procedure is not possible in clinical settings, there is a crucial need to improve imaging tools.
Currently, a vast array of promising techniques exists. For example, advanced diffusion MRI techniques, such as diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI), capture subtle microstructural alterations that otherwise appear normal on conventional MRI & CT. Furthermore, biophysical modeling of diffusion MRI data can detect neurite density, axonal water fraction, axonal diameter, myelin fraction, to name a few, which may improve our ability to provide improved imaging-based diagnosis and prognosis. Similarly, biophysical modeling of brain perfusion can provide detailed measures of microvascular function believed to precede overt disease manifestation. Advances in such techniques will not only provide potential tools for early and diagnosis but may unscramble the clinical phenotypes of these CNS disorders. Such developments would ultimately lead to better diagnosis of CNS disorders where the early disease stages are currently radiologically invisible.
This Research Topic aims to focus on advances in our understanding of radiologically subtle CNS disorders and our ability to image them and their underlying physiology. Our focus is on clinically viable neuroimaging techniques, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS), positron emission tomography (PET), and computed tomography (CT). These techniques collectively reveal information on CNS structure and physiology, including its microstructure, blood supply, metabolic state, chemical composition, energy turn-over, and much more. Since many of these techniques are developed and refined preclinically using histology and microscopy techniques for validation, we also welcome contributions from these related areas.
Keywords: Neuroimaging, PET, MRS, CT, CNS, Radiogically subtle, MRI
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