Background: Changes in brain lesion loads assessed with magnetic resonance imaging obtained at 1.5 Telsa (T) are used as a measure of disease evolution in natural history studies and treatment trials of multiple sclerosis. Methods: A comparison was made between the total lesion volume and individual lesions observed on 1.5 T images and on high-resolution 4 T images. Lesions were quantified using a computer-assisted segmentation tool. Results: There was a 46% increase in the total number of lesions detected with 4 T versus 1.5 T imaging (p<0.005). The 4 T also showed a 60% increase in total lesion volume when compared with the 1.5 T (p<0.005). In several instances, the 1.5 T scans showed individual lesions that coalesced into larger areas of abnormality in the 4 T scans. The relationship between individual lesion volumes was linear (slope 1.231) showing that the lesion volume observed at 4 T increased with the size of the lesion detected at 1.5 T The 4 T voxels were less than one quarter the size of those used at 1.5 T and there were no consistent differences between their signal-to-noise ratios. Conclusions: The increase in signal strength that accompanied the increase in field strength compensated for the loss in signal amplitude produced by the use of smaller voxels. This enabled the acquisition of images with improved resolution, resulting in increased lesion detection at 4 T and larger lesion volumes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology