The elastic properties of human tissues have been evaluated in a clinical setting by palpation. Although this procedure has often helped clinical diagnosis, it is a subjective procedure and cannot be quantified.
More recently a quantifiable technique has been developed using imaging technologies such as MRI, Ultrasound, Optical Imaging and so forth, whereby the degree of elasticity can be observed has hard data after administering vibrations to the tissue.
For the brain, the preferred technology has been MRI . Vibrations of 60 Hz have been applied at the base of the brain and elastic properties then measured. We can envision a wide range of applications of this technique for the brain, including but not limited to: Alzheimer’s disease, Brain Tumours, Multiple Sclerosis, and Stroke. The vibratory frequency used seems to be safe and unable to produce damage such as the rupture of brain vessels.
In my opinion this technique can be very useful for the differential diagnosis of brain disorders in conjunction with the already known anatomical information that MRI can provide.
This is a good paper on the subject:
Mariappan YK, etc al. Magnetic Resonance Elastography: A Review. Clinical Anatomy, 2010, 23: 497-11.
Adolfo Cotter, MD