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Establishing a Search System for Children's Brain Imaging Data

MRI scans
The database's software indexes 1,000 structural measurements in 250 regions of the brain.

A team of Johns Hopkins engineers and radiologists is building a vast digital library of pediatric MRI scans to help doctors diagnose brain disorders with greater accuracy and speed.

Doctors can search through this database to find scans that resemble their own patients’ images.

"If a diagnosis is already attached to an image from the data bank, that could steer the physician in the right direction. Also, the scans in our library may help a physician identify a change in the shape of a brain structure that occurs very early in the course of a disease, even before clinical symptoms appear. That could allow the physician to get an early start on the treatment,” said lead investigator Michael Miller, a professor of biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

In addition to streamlining diagnosis, Miller hopes this project will also further the understanding of how brain disorders affect brain structure. "It will provide a way to share important new discoveries about how changes in brain structures are linked to brain disorders. For the medical imaging world, this system will do what a search engine like Google does when you ask it to look for specific information on the Web."

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