Johns Hopkins engineers and radiologists are creating a digital library of children’s brain scans to enable physicians everywhere to better treat young patients with brain abnormalities.
The database, which will be easily searchable with a Google-like tool, not only will allow doctors to hunt for images that match those of their patients but also may help clinicians identify brain structure shapes that signal early disease onset, says lead researcher Michael Miller, MS ’79, PhD ’84, the Herschel and Ruth Seder Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins. It is being developed under a three-year, $600,000 NIH grant.
“We’re creating a pediatric brain data bank that will let doctors look at MRI brain scans of children who have already been diagnosed with illnesses like epilepsy or psychiatric disorders,” said Miller, director of the university’s Center for Imaging Science. “It will provide a way to share important new discoveries about how changes in brain structures are linked to brain disorders.”
According to the researchers, the new databank’s more objective analysis of images will allow identification of disease and injury that might otherwise go undetected using the more subjective radiological “eyeballing” of MRI images.