Friday, June 14, 2013

Personalized brain mapping technique preserves function after brain tumor surgery

My initial impression was something like “Yes!!!” 

That “Yes!!!” quickly turned into a much quieter “ok” when I read the article. Essentially, this new technique helps, but is not panacea. Here’s a summary:

“The imaging technique of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) allows neurosurgeons to visualize important pathways in the brain. This allows them to better adapt brain tumor surgeries and preserve language, visual function, and motor function while removing cancerous tissue. This ability to visualize relevant white matter tracts during glioma resection surgeries can improve accuracy and, in some groups, significantly extend survival (median survival 21.2 months) compared to cases where DTI was not used (median survival 14 months).”

The sobering factoid is that this only helps extend median survival to 21.2 months from 14 months. While this is an big % increase, it sure feels like a small decrease in human suffering.  :-(

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