What Does a Brain MRI Show?
What does a brain MRI show? The answer is, unfortunately, not very. MRI scans (magnetic resonance imaging) have been around for decades, and the technology has been steadily improving. Today, a brain MRI test can identify whether or not a person has a stroke, or if the person has suffered a traumatic brain injury, or if the person is suffering from some type of brain malfunction. MRI scans have even been used to screen people for depression! For those of us in the medical field, brain MRI scans are often used in conjunction with other diagnostic techniques, such as electroencephalographs (EEG’s), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI’s) and computerized tomography (CT) scans to determine brain activity in patients who show certain signs or symptoms of disease or other disorders.
An interesting fact about brain MRI’s is that they do not show a lot of structural or functional information. There are times when an MRI will show how much blood is flowing in a particular region of the brain, but without further information regarding the blood flow, it’s hard to say whether or not the result is accurate. Another limitation of MRI scans is that they cannot show whether or not parts of the brain are functioning normally. In many cases, a doctor will look at an MRI scan of a patient and draw conclusions based on the appearance of the images, but without taking the time to look at the images very carefully, it’s impossible to tell what the brain will look like in a few minutes. Some doctors rely on visual cues from the patient’s behavior to make an accurate diagnosis.
If a doctor suspects that a patient is exhibiting certain mental symptoms, one way that he or she can go about choosing which brain MRI test to use is by looking for certain things in the images. Patients with milder psychiatric problems, such as depression or social anxiety, may be able to benefit from MRI brain scans that provide information on how their brains process visual information. Doctors may choose to look for signs of abnormalities in the brain scans themselves, or they may choose to look for information on how that particular brain area processes the information. Either way, though, an effective test like this will give important information.
Those who have experienced stroke or a traumatic brain injury can also benefit from brain MRI tests, which allow them to learn what happened to their bodies when they suffered injuries. Though scientists have yet to determine exactly what happens in the brain when people are injured, they do know that there is information that can be used to help a survivor process what is happening in his or her brain. In addition, those suffering from traumatic brain injuries can use the information to improve the odds of survival, as some kind of therapy may be necessary to help them recover.
Those who are experiencing memory loss can also benefit from brain MRI tests, as their brains can be examined to see if they are working properly. MRI brain scans will be able to identify which parts of the brain are not working correctly and can help determine the cause. This can be an important step toward developing an effective treatment plan, which means that the symptoms will eventually go away, and the brain will start to function normally again. Unfortunately, many people who suffer milder brain injuries don’t show any symptoms at all and die. Even if they do, the injury might be so severe that their death cannot be attributed to the brain injuries.
When looking for answers about what does a brain MRI show, patients should take the time to research the various types of MRI tests that are available, as well as the various types of information that they can get from them. Though a brain MRI is usually not life-threatening, it can give those suffering from brain damage a lot of information that can help them find out what is going on in their bodies. In fact, some patients will even choose to take additional diagnostic tests after their MRI to make sure that everything is progressing in their brains.