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Johns Hopkins researchers establish a digital search system for pediatric brain MRI data

February 24, 2014

BME Professor Michael Miller, PhD

BME Professor Michael Miller, PhD

Herschel and Ruth Seder Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Michael Miller, Susumu Mori (co-principal investigator of the grant) and Thierry Huisman (pediatric radiologist, building the pediatric brain cloud) have received a lot of media coverage about their recent project — a Google-like search system of normal and abnormal children’s brain scans. The pediatric brain data bank that will let doctors look at MRI brain scans of children who have already been diagnosed with illnesses like epilepsy or psychiatric disorders. It will also provide a way to share important new discoveries about how changes in brain structures are linked to brain disorders.

The new pediatric brain imaging data bank, Miller said, will be useful in at least two ways. “If doctors aren’t sure which disease is causing a child’s condition, they could search the data bank for images that closely match their patient’s most recent scan,” he said. “If a diagnosis is already attached to an image from the data bank, which could steer the physician in the right direction. Also, the scans in our library may help a physician identify a change in the shape of a brain structure that occurs very early in the course of a disease, even before clinical symptoms appear. That could allow the physician to get an early start on the treatment.”

Dr. Miller is a pioneer in the field of computational anatomy, the technology used for “brain parsing,” He is also director of the university’s Center for Imaging Science and is a core faculty member in the university’s Institute for Computational Medicine.

This cloud-computing project is supported by a three-year $600,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health.

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