Health briefs for June 1st-7th

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Photo above: Beaufort Memorial MRI technician Mario Rodriguez performs an MRI using the Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI). BMH is the first hospital in the Lowcountry to apply DTI to look at the path of white matter in the brain, which can show brain abnormalities. Photo provided.

Beaufort Memorial has new MRI technology

Beaufort Memorial has a new reason to celebrate Stroke Awareness Month this May. 

The nonprofit hospital recently invested in cutting-edge MRI technology that can help doctors assess the amount of damage a stroke has caused to a patient’s brain and determine the most effective treatment to reverse it. 

Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) will allow neurologists to evaluate the location, orientation and magnitude of damage that occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures.   

“Our primary goal in treating stroke is to minimize disability,” said Beaufort Memorial board-certified neurologist Dr. Paul Mazzeo. “DTI will help us do that.”

BMH upgraded its MRI scanner with the DTI technology to participate in a clinical trial examining the effects of a new antiplatelet drug in people with weakness due to stroke. 

“As part of this research, we need the ability to measure stroke damage in a more refined way,” said Mazzeo, principal investigator for the study. “That is where DTI comes in.”

The human brain consists of gray matter (neurons/wiring) and white matter (myelin/insulation). MRI-DTI lets physicians see the white matter tracts of the brain much more clearly than standard MRI.

Like most hospitals, BMH uses a technique called Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI) to detect an acute stroke. It is now the first hospital in the Lowcountry to apply DTI to look at the path of white matter in the brain, which can show brain abnormalities.

In addition to strokes, DTI can be used to evaluate a number of other conditions. In epilepsy, it can help physicians determine if a patient would benefit from curative surgery. It can reveal active disease in a patient with multiple sclerosis, even if a standard MRI is normal. It also can distinguish normal tissue from brain tumors.

For more information on Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s imaging services, visit www.bmhsc.org or call 843-522-5015.

Red Cross holding blood drives

Before busy summer schedules set in, the American Red Cross urges eligible donors to roll up a sleeve to help ensure a sufficient supply for patients in need.

Donors of all blood types are needed now to help accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving cancer treatment. 

An upcoming blood donation opportunity will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, June 1, at Carteret Street United Methodist Church at 408 Carteret St. in Beaufort.

To make an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org or calling 800-733-2767. 

Donors can then also visit redcrossblood.org/cedarfair to enter to win one of three grand prize packages for four to Knott’s Berry Farm in California or Cedar Point in Ohio.