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  • Health surveillance of the brain and psychological state program with MRI
  • Health surveillance of the brain and psychological state program with MRI

    ToMMo collects the data of 10,000 participants (recruiting goalmri_01) from a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam. This is a part of the Tohoku Medical Megabank Project Birth and Three-Generation Cohort Study and the Tohoku Medical Megabank Project Community-Based Cohort Study. We are investigating how daily habits or genetic factors have influence on the brain, its cognitive functions, and psychological conditions, in order to maintain a healthy brain and good cognitive functions through a whole life time.
    -A large-scale database of anonymous brain images will be established.
    -We will incorporate the data of MR images as biomarkers of cognitive functions and vital functions into cohort studies.

    MRI exam
    Recruiting goal 10,000
    Participants Men and women age 20 or older, excluding pregnant women and women suspected of being pregnant, or those who do not have a doctor’s certificate for MRI safety although with metallic implants or foreign body
    Recruitment Visiting Sendai Community Support Centers
    Requested cooperation Filling out the questionnaire; MR imaging; cognitive tests; interview by psychologists; cooperating with follow-up studies
    Period Since July 24, 2014 to March 31, 2021
    Endpoint Brain Gray and White Matter Volume, White Matter Integrity, White Matter Lesion, Brain Perfusion, Brain Vessel Structure, Femoral Muscle Volume


    Through analyses of the MR images (brain and thigh) of participants, combined with analyses of their lifestyles, cognitive capacity, mental health status, and genome information, we are studying the effects that hereditary and environmental factors have on the brain and cognitive capacity, as well as the mechanisms of developing posttraumatic stress reaction (PTSR), depression, and dementia.

    As a result of the program, a large-scale database of anonymous brain images will be established in the near future. Furthermore, using this database, we aim to establish methods for early detection and prevention of several psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases highly associated with brain structure and function changes, such as major depression, PTSR, and dementia.


    Test item:
    -MRI scan for brain and thigh (from the waist to the knee)
    -Questionnaire on the brain and psychological state
    -Cognitive tests to measure various cognitive functions
    -The Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.) by psychologists


    MRI scanners:
    We scan the brain of participants with a variety of imaging protocols, using two dedicated 3.0-Tesla MRI machines.


    [An axial slice from four different acquisition protocols. From left to right: Structural image (T1), perfusion map, FLAIR image, diffusion tensor image]


    [MR angiography, imaging the brain vasculature]











    This combination of images enables us to assess the brain structure through quantitative morphometrics, including volume and thickness of the neocortex and volume of sub-cortical structures, as well as qualitative appreciation of white matter lesions in an aging brain, and brain vasculature.


    [The hippocampus, a structure heavily involved in memory, depicted here in 3D rendering, is automatically segmented from the MR images of participants]


    [Morphometry of the cortical surface]













    We will also acquire a body MR image of participants using a multi-Dixon sequence. From that acquisition, we assess body structure, such as the femoral muscle physical volume, whose decline may be an early marker of later cognitive decline.


    [Four MR body slabs. They show different contrasts, and show different subjects.]


    [The segmented muscle, depicted as a 3D rendering]


    [An example of femoral muscle/fat segmentation, two different slices of the same subject]


    [3D rendering of the cortical gray matter]


    [Tractography of the white matter structure]


    Return of results:
    Using brain analysis methods based on novel brain science, we provide targeted feedback to the participants. Experienced medical doctors inspect images to detect abnormal findings, such as brain atrophy, cerebral infarction, brain tumors, and so on.
    Using the images for research on cognitive and behavioral assessment, we will provide data, such as brain age from the density of each area in the brain and femoral muscle mass, to MRI scan participants.