“Some of you may already know that we have joined UCL Partners an umbrella organisation that covers academic and clinical services in Central and Northeast London. This is the first of many guest posts from one of the researchers at UCL as part of our partnership.”
Dr Varun Sethi works as a clinical research associate at the Department of Neuroinflammation, UCL Institute of Neurology. His area of research is the study of grey matter lesions in MSers, using MRI. He trained as a doctor in India and after his postgraduate degree in Medicine, came to UK initially for a Masters in Clinical Neurology and is currently working towards his PhD.
Knowing that MS lesions occur in grey matter, but that they are difficult to see using standard MRI scans, different methods have been studied to improve this. One such method – Double Inversion Recovery (DIR) – has proven particularly useful to detect grey matter lesion, and has helped us to study the effects grey matter lesions have on people living with MS. However, with DIR, most grey matter lesions are still not seen, and so it is difficult to gain a true impression of how clinically important, or not, they are. In order to improve our understanding of grey matter lesions in MS, we used a previously developed MRI scan called Phase Sensitive Inversion Recovery (PSIR) to provide much more detailed scans of the brain. Using this, when compared with DIR we see about 2 to 3 times more grey matter lesions. We are now looking at whether or not this method improves our understanding of the relationship between grey matter lesions, physical and cognitive dysfunction. We will also be comparing these findings in patients with MS, with healthy controls and patients with other neurological conditions, to see if grey matter lesions can aid in the diagnosis of MS when it otherwise in doubt.
Disclosures: The NMR Research Unit is supported by the MS Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the UCL UCLH Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre; The MS Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has provided financial support for staff and research costs. V Sethi receives research support from Biogen Idec and Novartis. DT Chard receives research support from the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and holds stock in GlaxoSmithKline and has received honararia for educational work and advisory board membership from Teva and Bayer.