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Monday, November 06, 2006

MRI Can Spot Radiation-Induced Muscle Injury

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can spot the immediate injury done by radiation therapy to the muscles of children undergoing radiation treatment for certain types of cancer, according to researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

This finding suggests that MRI might one day be able to help doctors predict theamount of long-term damage that radiation may cause to muscles.

A report on these findings appears in the Oct. 25 online issue of Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

As radiation treatments become more advanced and complex, clinicians must have a way to predict the outcomes -- including side effects -- onspecific patients, according to Matthew Krasin, M.D., associate member of the St. Jude Department of Radiological Sciences.

Researchers believe that the early changes MRI can see in muscle, suchas swelling and leakage, might help predict how much damage will occur inthe muscles during the course of many months. This would allow doctors to design better radiation treatments to avoid potential problems.


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