MRIs could become powerful tools for monitoring cholesteral therapy
MRI scanning could become a powerful new tool for assessing how well cholesterol drugs are working, according to Loyola University Health System cardiologist Binh An P. Phan, MD.
Phan is co-author of an MRI study of patients who had recently begun taking cholesterol medications. The study found that intensive treatment with cholesterol drugs significantly reduced the amount of cholesterol in artery-clogging plaque. The study is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Imaging.
Cholesterol is the raw material in the buildup of plaque, which leads to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). The process can cause blocked arteries that can trigger heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular problems.
Imaging technologies traditionally used to monitor cardiovascular disease, such as angiograms and ultrasounds, show the overall size of the plaque buildup. In the new study, MRI scans were more precise, showing the amount of cholesterol within the plaque.
The study was conducted at the University of Washington, where Phan completed a cardiovascular clinical and research fellowship. The study included 120 patients who were randomly assigned to receive one of three cholesterol treatments: Lipitor®; Lipitor plus Niaspan® (extended-release niacin); or Lipitor® plus Niaspan and colesevelam.
After three years, the 33 patients with identified carotid plaques had a significant reduction in the cholesterol within the plaque. The volume of cholesterol dropped from 60.4 cubic millimeters to 37.4 millimeters, and the percentage of plaque volume consisting of cholesterol dropped from 14.2 percent to 7.4 percent.
(The scans were done on patients' carotid arteries in the neck, rather than on their coronary arteries. Carotid arteries are easier to image because they are closer to the surface of the body, and do not move as much as coronary arteries of a beating heart. Since atherosclerosis occurs in blood vessels throughout the body, plaque buildup in carotid arteries is a good representation of what is occurring in coronary arteries.)
The findings confirmed the researchers' hypothesis that the reason why cholesterol medications shrink the overall size of the plaque is because cholesterol is being removed from within the plaque. Thus, using MRI scans to monitor the amount of cholesterol in plaque may help doctors to better determine how well cholesterol medications are working. If an MRI showed cholesterol was not being reduced, more aggressive therapy might be needed, Phan said.
"In the future, MRI scans may become important and powerful tools to see how medication therapy is working inside arteries," Phan said. "However, our study is just the first step. Additional studies will be needed."
Provided by Loyola University Health System
- Aggressive lowering of cholesterol has positive impact in atherosclerosis Dec 02, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Vitamin B niacin offers no extra benefit to statin therapy in seniors already diagnosed with CAD Nov 18, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Intensive therapy for narrowed arteries linked to fewer heart events Dec 15, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Trials find no benefits of Zetia Jan 15, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers Observe Asymptomatic Carotid Plaque Healing Mechanisms Sep 03, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
May 23, 2013 Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
By discovering the new mechanism by which estrogen suppresses lipid synthesis in the liver, UC Irvine endocrinologists have revealed a potential new approach toward treating certain liver diseases.
Medical research 15 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Aortic arch pulse wave velocity, a measure of arterial stiffness, is a strong independent predictor of disease of the vessels that supply blood to the brain, according to a new study published in the June issue the journal ...
Medical research 15 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Since the discovery of Prontosil in 1932, sulfonamide antibiotics have been used to combat a wide spectrum of bacterial infections, from acne to chlamydia and pneumonia. However, their side effects can include serious neurological ...
Medical research 17 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health report they have discovered in mouse studies that a small molecule released in the spinal cord triggers a process that is later experienced in the brain as ...
Medical research 17 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Spanish researchers have discovered that the daily clearance of neutrophils from the body stimulates the release of hematopoietic stem cells from the bone marrow into the bloodstream, according to a report published today ...
Medical research 19 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0
Artemio Martinez balanced his corpulent frame on a stool in a Mexico City street taco stand, downing a sweet soda and eating a final pork-filled corn tortilla.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
The World Health Organization voiced deep concern Thursday over the SARS-like virus that has killed 22 people in less than a year, saying it might potentially spread more widely between humans.
50 minutes ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
(AP)—Researchers examining the incidence of brain cancer at jet engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut say they have found no statistically significant elevations in the rate of cancer among workers.
40 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Regulating the distribution of power in neurons is done by a system that makes the national electric grid look simple by comparison. Each neuron has several thousand mitochondria confined ...
13 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (6) | 0 |
The British Menopause Society and Women's Health Concern have today released updated guidelines on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to provide clarity around the role of HRT, the benefits and the risks. The new guidelines ...
2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A brief visual task can predict IQ, according to a new study. This surprisingly simple exercise measures the brain's unconscious ability to filter out visual movement. The study shows that individuals whose ...
19 hours ago | 4.5 / 5 (10) | 1 |