Additional brain scan could provide more certainty in diagnosing foetal brain abnormalities

Researchers from ScHARR have contributed to research which shows that MRI scans in pregnancy improve diagnosis of brain defects.


The Sheffield Clinical Trials Research Unit (CTRU) team at ScHARR worked closely with the Chief investigator and other NHS collaborators to develop, design and deliver the study. ScHARR staff were responsible for the overall study management, provided methodological expertise throughout and completed the statistical and health economic analysis.

The findings of this study are extremely important as the team report highly significant, robust data which lead them to recommend that any pregnancy with a suspected fetal brain abnormality should be offered an iuMR to better inform the counselling and management decisions.


The main missing component was that babies with normal ultrasound scans were not given an MRI scan, and this is now being addressed by an add-on study. 

Working on this study was a challenge statistically since it was not a simple diagnostic study, and both ultrasound and MRI were being tested and the final outcome was not determined until some time after the baby was born. It was also a challenge to decide whether scans agreed or not.

PROF MIKE CAMPBELL, Emeritus Professor of Medical Statistics, ScHARR

The results were published in the international journal The Lancet. For more information, see University press release here.