24 January, 2013: Doctors at the Biswas X-Ray and Scan Centre use NeuralTools from Palisade (www.palisade.com) to determine the pathological changes in brain tumours. The neural network tool can be deployed instead of injecting contrast dye, intravenous gadolinium, which is highly toxic despite it being widely used in MRIs to enhance or discriminate brain tumours.
Gadolinium is a paramagnetic substance that has small local magnetic fields that cause a shortening of the relaxation times of the surrounding atoms ultimately improving tissue discrimination in MRI. This can give a higher or lower signal between two tissues enabling them to be better differentiated.
However, gadolinium can cause complications for patients, and has been linked to the development of nephrogenic system fibrosis, a serious condition of the joints, skin and internal organs. Dr Biswas, a member of the Indian Radiological Association and founder of the Biswas X-Ray and Scan Centre located in Asansol, eastern India, wanted to create the enhancement to the brain tumour enabled by gadolinium, but without using the substance.
With neural networks analysis able to intelligently predict outcomes based on multiple pieces of input data, Palisade’s NeuralTools was the software of choice for Dr Biswas for this research. As a sophisticated neural networks tool that works directly in Microsoft Excel, NeuralTools could create accurate new predictions based on patterns in known data that were easily accessible, and simple to read.
Historical magnetic values of tissue, both brain and tumour pre and post-gadolinium injection, were used as data inputs and a neural network was designed. This predicts the signal and grey shade values of unknown tissues in four application areas: function fitting, pattern recognition, clustering and time series analysis.
The mathematical analysis of the predicted values from the NeuralTools analysis enabled Dr Biswas to create an MRI-like image of brain lesions without the dangers of using gadolinium contrast dye.
Dr Biswas explains, “The result of this study means contrast enhancement like simulation of brain tumours can be done accurately. Using NeuralTools, and specifically its Live Prediction feature, we have been able to stop using gadolinium, whilst the discrimination of various brain tumours pathology can still be made.”
He added, “We are delighted with NeuralTools; part of this study would simply have been impossible without it. The live prediction function is also extremely useful, and something that has been key to the study – it provides us with very accurate data very quickly. NeuralTools will continue to be a key element of the work we are doing here.”