Research on MRI as a method for age assessment

On behalf of The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH) and Karolinska Institutet (KI) will conduct an in-depth study aimed to evaluate the MRI as a method for age assessment.

In April 2016, The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) presented a review of more than a thousand scientific articles on medical age assessment. It showed that MRI of the knee joint can reduce the risk that children under 18 years are incorrectly assessed as adults. In July 2016, The National Board of Health and Welfare, was commissioned by the Swedish government to be responsible for an in-depth study of age assessment. The study will be carried out by independent researchers at universities in Sweden.

– With the help of a mobile clinic equipped with MRI, we will examine 900 young adults aged 14–22 years, says Johan Sanmartin Berglund, a physician and professor at BTH. It is voluntary and the examination is harmless. The study aims to evaluate the MRI as a method for assessing age by analyzing images of knee, foot and wrist joints.

BTH´s part in this study, in addition to the investigations, is to carry out research on models for how to make age assessment. It is fully in line with BTH´s expertise in applied health technology and in other fields of technology, where research is carried out on decision support.

This study is also an excellent example of how research in applied health technology at BTH is carried out. Applied health technology is an interdisciplinary subject, incorporating studies on how health directly or indirectly relates to the application and results of technology. The research projects are based on both individuals and the population at large. Often, as in this project, the research is conducted in cooperation with other researchers.

– In this study, we clearly point out that BTH is combining health and technology and I want to see this as a first step towards a clinical research environment at BTH, says Johan Sanmartin Berglund.

– In this case it is an advantage to be a small university. Here, we know each other across subject boundaries and decision making processes are brief. That generates a kind of cutting-edge in itself, says Peter Anderberg, associate professor at BTH.

22 February 2017