HIRF using state-of-the-art technology to aid diagnoses

28 Sep 2015

The Herston Imaging Research Facility (HIRF) represents a paradigm shift in medical imaging technology, with state-of-the-art Siemens scanners setting a new benchmark for medical imaging in Australia.

The first research scans at HIRF, utilising the cutting-edge 3T MRI Prisma scanner, were recently conducted as part of a study by the Asia-Pacific Centre for Neuromodulation (APCN) into the causes, presentation and effects of psychiatric symptoms following deep brain stimulation (DBS) in Parkinson’s disease patients.

The study, being led by Dr Philip Mosley, focuses on identifying neural and behavioural biomarkers of the most problematic psychiatric changes, allowing early intervention and preventing serious damage from occurring in psychological and social domains.

“In our work so far we have demonstrated that some patients develop an impulsive style of decision making and lose the capacity for empathy with their partner or spouse,” said Dr Mosley

“These relatives report a significantly greater 'carer burden', which may even be greater than that experienced prior to surgery."

One of the problems faced by clinicians in the DBS team is that there is currently no clear way of predicting which patients will be affected by neuropsychiatric symptoms after their surgery.

"Characterising post-DBS personality change offers us the opportunity to ground these changes in a scientific framework, adding to our knowledge of the brain and the biological underpinnings of mental illness more generally, given that the tendency to make impulsive decisions is also a characteristic of other psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder, ADHD and substance abuse."

As well as the 3T MRI Prisma scanner used in the APCN study, HIRF is home to two hybrid scanners: the PET/MRI, which is the first of its kind in Australia and the PET/CT which provides both detailed information about disorders at a molecular level and a comprehensive image of the body’s anatomy.

Thanks to this cutting edge technology provided by Siemens, HIRF has the potential to revolutionise patient care in the areas of dementia and ageing, mental illness, brain development and cancer.


Media: Dr Philip Mosley, p.mosley@uq.edu.au; Ryan Sim, Marketing and Communications, Faculty of Medicine + Biomedical Sciences, r.sim@uq.edu.au.