Radiologists who can tune in to the nuances of brain scans in children are a pretty rarified group. Only about 3 percent of U.S. radiologists, some 800 to 900 physicians, practice in pediatrics. Those specifically trained in pediatric neuroradiology are even scarcer.
To a less trained eye, normal developmental changes in a child’s brain may be misinterpreted as abnormal on MRI. Conversely, a complex brain disorder can sometimes appear normal. That’s especially true when the abnormality affects both sides of the brain equally (see sidebar).
It can be hard to find the cause of a child’s developmental delay without a proper read. “Pediatric brain scans of children under age 4 can be particularly tricky to read because the brain is rapidly developing during this period,” says Sanjay Prabhu, MBBS, a pediatric neuroradiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital. “If you’re looking at adult scans all the time, it’s incredibly difficult to transition to pediatric scans and understand what is considered ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal.’ Clinicians often wonder, ‘Should I repeat the scan? Should I send the patient to a specialist?’”
Decision support for brain scans in children
Prabhu and his colleagues are often asked to review brain scans taken at other hospitals. Frequently, they revise a prior diagnosis or make a first-time diagnosis for a child, ending a long and stressful diagnostic odyssey. Could they somehow share their expertise with a much wider group of physicians?
Today, Boston Children’s and GE Healthcare announced a collaboration to develop and commercialize digital diagnostic solutions. Their first project is a decision support platform aimed at improving diagnostic accuracy in pediatric brain MRI scans.
Read the full post on Vector: Real-time contextual information could help doctors interpret children’s brain scans
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