By Dr Tapan Biswas, Member of the Indian Radiological Association & Founder Biswas X-Ray and Scan Centre
Asansol-based Biswas X-Ray and Scan Centre is a dedicated imaging and research laboratory that specialises in brain tumours. Dr Tapan Biswas, a member of the Indian Radiological Association and founder of the Biswas X-Ray and Scan Centre, had been keen for some time to establish a protocol that would allow his centre to determine the pathological changes in brain tumours without the use of the injected contrast dye intravenous gadolinium. The contrast agent has been linked to the development of nephrogenic system fibrosis, a serious condition of the joints, skin and internal organs. It is highly toxic despite it being widely used in MRIs to enhance or discriminate brain tumours.
Using a contrast agent like gadolinium is a valuable tool that allows Dr Biswas and his colleagues to have improved visibility of internal body structures. gadolinium is a paramagnetic substance, that has small local magnetic fields which cause a shortening of the relaxation times of the surrounding atoms ultimately improving tissue discrimination in MRI. This can give a higher or lower signal between two tissues enabling them to be better differentiated.
However, considering the adverse effect that gadolinium can cause, Dr Biswas wanted to create the same enhancement to the brain tumour that gadolinium would give, but without actually using it. This led to research that would help determine the probability of the ability to produce an enhancement-like effect of the brain lesions of MRI images mathematically without intravenous injections of gadolinium.
Dr Biswas chose Palisades NeuralTools for the research. Its a software with neural networks analysis able to intelligently predict outcomes based on multiple pieces of input data. It works directly in Microsoft Excel, it could create accurate new predictions based on patterns in known data that were easily accessible, and simple to read.
Neural tools helped in intelligent predictions
Using various historical magnetic values of tissue, both brain and tumour pre and post-gadolinium injection, were used as data inputs. Dr Biswas followed the standard steps for designing neural networks to predict the signal and gray shade values of unknown tissues in four application areas: function fitting, pattern recognition, clustering and time series analysis.
After understanding the data, NeuralTools worked through the following steps: analysis of the data, training the network on the data provided, testing the network for accuracy and lastly making intelligent predictions. These predictions consisted of forecasted values for the magnetic signal of the unknown tissue. The partial (input) data known about the target tissue was its T1 value, or spin-lattice relaxation time. The predicted signal values could then be translated into a gray value of 256 possible shades.
In effect, the mathematical analysis of the predicted values from the NeuralTools analysis enabled Dr Biswas to create an MRI-like image of brain lesions without the dangers of using gadolinium contrast dye. A neural network and without a Gandolinium IV contrast was possible.
Dr Biswas commented, The result of this study means contrast enhancement like simulation of brain tumours can be done accurately. Using Neural Tools, and specifically its Live Prediction feature, we have been able to stop using gadolinium, whilst the discrimination of various brain tumours pathology can still be made.
Palisade Corporation is a software developer that produces decision support tools for professionals in many lines of work. Its range of software serves fields from finance to pharmaceuticals.