Impact of evidence-based medicine on magnetic resonance spectroscopy

Lin AP, Tran TT, Ross BD

NMR Biomed 2006 Jun;19(4):476-83

PMID: 16763969


Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a robust, non-invasive means of defining aspects of human neurochemistry. After more than two decades, it is clear that in addition to its scientific interest, MRS has diagnostic value in tumor diagnosis, prognosis, therapeutic outcome, dementia diagnosis and prognosis, multiple sclerosis, infections, trauma, development, stroke, perinatal ischemia, xenobiotics and inborn errors (as determined from a meta-analysis included in this paper). However, in many healthcare systems, a new radiological technique requires evidence-based medicine (EBM) before it is recommended for reimbursement. Much of the reason why MRS is thought to be non-reimbursable in the USA is due to recent announcements that this 15-year-old technique is still considered ‘investigational’ by these EBM assessments. An analysis is presented of the technology assessments that brought about this situation. Based on the conclusions of the EBM assessments, strategies are suggested that involve all entities responsible for spectroscopy including the scientists’ role in ensuring the future for clinical spectroscopy.