UCL Centre for Medical Image Computing


Advances contributed by CMIC researchers reveal changes in brain microstructure in early stage of MS

26 May 2021

Advances contributed by CMIC researchers reveal changes in brain microstructure and metabolic function in the early stages of multiple sclerosis.

Researchers from the UCL Centre for Medical Image Computing (CMIC) contributed to a new study published in the journal Brain, and covered by the Times, which shed new light on our understanding of multiple sclerosis (MS).


MS is an immune-mediated, neurodegenerative disease which can have a profound impact on patient lives.  For patients suffering from the disease, its unpredictability can be extremely agonizing. This study, led by the Queen Square Institute of Neurology (IoN), provides important new clues that may help neurologists to better predict how the disease will progress for each patient.


CMIC has developed one of the two key MRI techniques that have made this discovery possible. This technique, known as neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI), allows changes in brain microstructure, such as the organization of axons, to be measured.  In this study, NODDI was used to pinpoint early signs of damage in the corpus callosum, the set of nerve fibres that connect the two hemispheres of the brain.  CMIC has also contributed to the development of the second technique, known as Sodium MRI, at the IoN which provides important clues on metabolic dysfunction.


Many congratulations to our very own Ferran Prados, Baris Kanber, Francesco Grussu and Frederik Barkhof, who have contributed directly to this study.


If you would like to learn more about how techniques like NODDI were developed at CMIC, you may be interested in taking a look at this short video we have created.