Neuroimaging already plays an important role in the diagnosis and management of acute ischemic stroke. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has also established itself as a surrogate end point in animal models of ischemia. Recent developments have allowed a transition of these MRI techniques from animals to humans. Ongoing work indicates that computed tomography (CT) and MRI may be able to assess tissue status at an early stage and serve as an indicator of additional tissue at risk. Furthermore, additional statistical modeling appears to increase the power of these techniques.
The ability of these imaging techniques to help identify individual differences appears promising. Such approaches may allow for the determination of efficacy with smaller numbers of patients than that found in traditional approaches. Furthermore, these approaches may allow for the establishment of the biological effect of novel therapies.
While these techniques are still under development, they do seem to indicate that, as in other neurologic diseases, imaging has the possibility of greatly enhancing our insight into the pathophysiologic mechanism of human acute cerebral ischemia.
Sorensen G. Functional MRI Case Study: Monitoring Stroke in Humans. Arch Neurol. 2000;57(8):1235. doi: