Pathology: Still the Most Useful Technique for Studying Diseased Brains

I've been a pathologist for a long time and, believe me, about 5 or 10 years ago I thought that CT scans and MRIs were going to put me out of business because they're getting so much better and we can see everything, such infinitesimally small changes. But the truth is, there's still a role for pathology because you can't see all these molecular changes, you can't see all the damage to very , very intricate parts of the nervous system unless you look at the pathology. The pathology is giving us a map. We really didn't know what parts of the brain were effected in these disorders or how many parts of the brain were effected or that it could affect deep structures, as well as superficial structures. So pathology has been enormously important. It's how we defined medicine. Pathology, back 50 years ago, was how we learned about disease, and now we're finding out that we're still using the old classics to learn about disease.

MRIs and CT scans are incredible technology, but pathology still provides an indispensable map, especially when studying a diseased brain.

See all videos interviews with Dr. Ann McKee.

Ann McKee

Ann McKee, MD is the chief neuropathologist for the Framingham Heart Study and the Boston University-based Centenarian Study. She is also the chief neuropathologist for the Boston-based Veterans Administration Medical Centers and for the Sports Legacy Institute.

Posted on BrainLine December 10, 2010

Produced by Noel Gunther and Brian King, BrainLine.

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