Revealing the Invisible Brain
Neuroimaging with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has provided an unprecedented ability to peer inside the living brain. This has improved our understanding of brain structure and function and led to better neurosurgical treatments. But MRI often misses very subtle pathological changes. This can negatively affect diagnosis and therapy for many patients, including those with drug-resistant epilepsy. Without a clear target, clinicians may use more invasive diagnostic procedures that can be less effective. It may even mean some patients are unable to take advantage of surgical treatments.
As Canada Research Chair in Computational Neuroimaging, Dr. Ali Khan is trying to solve these problems by bringing together the latest advances in imaging with new computational techniques. He and his research team are harnessing a wide range of data—using ultra-high field MRI scanners, microscope slides, and large open access databases—to build models for quantifying anatomy that up until now has been “invisible” to MRI. Khan and his team are also studying the best way to translate their findings into information that can be readily used by clinicians planning and performing surgical interventions.
This research will improve the care and treatment that patients with epilepsy and other neurological disorders receive. Better identification of surgical targets could also help more patients become seizure-free through access to surgeries. Improved imaging could also result in fewer tests, reducing the burden on the patient and the health care system.