Detecting Small Vessel Pathology in Cocaine Use Disorder

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Öchsner, Marco 
Mak, Elijah 
Ersche, Karen D 

jats:secjats:titleBackground</jats:title>jats:pCocaine use is associated with an increased risk of cerebrovascular accidents. Small vessel pathology has been linked to the risk of stroke in cocaine users, but can be challenging to detect on conventional magnetic resonance (MR) scans. Fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) scans permit better resolution of small vessel lesions.</jats:p></jats:sec>jats:secjats:titleObjectives</jats:title>jats:pFLAIR scans are currently only acquired based on the subjective judgement of abnormalities on MR scans at face value. We sought to evaluate this practice and the added value of FLAIR scans for patients with cocaine use disorder (CUD), by comparing microbleeds detected by MR and FLAIR scans. We hypothesised that microbleeds are more pronounced in CUD patients, particularly so in participants who had been selected for a FLAIR scan by radiographers.</jats:p></jats:sec>jats:secjats:titleMethods</jats:title>jats:pSixty-four patients with CUD and 60 control participants underwent a brain scan. The MR of 20 CUD patients and 16 control participants showed indicators of cerebral infarction at face value and were followed up by a FLAIR scan. We determined the volume of microbleeds in both MR and FLAIR scans and examined associations with various risk factors.</jats:p></jats:sec>jats:secjats:titleResults</jats:title>jats:pWhile MR lesion volumes were significantly increased in CUD patients, no significant differences in lesion volume were found in the subgroup of individuals who received a FLAIR.</jats:p></jats:sec>jats:secjats:titleConclusion</jats:title>jats:pThe current practice of subjectively evaluating MR scans as a basis for the follow-up FLAIR scans to detect vascular pathology may miss vulnerable individuals. Hence, FLAIR scans should be included as a routine part of research studies.</jats:p></jats:sec>

Neuroscience, cocaine, addiction, neuroimaging, FLAIR (fluid attenuated inversion recovery), hyperintensities detection, microbleeds, risk factors, impulsivity
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Frontiers in Neuroscience
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Frontiers Media SA