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Q & A with Elka Miller

What is the goal of your research?
My goal is to answer questions and solve clinical problems through research. In Diagnostic Imaging, this involves utilizing the best imaging techniques at the highest quality level and ensuring the minimization of exposure to radiation in children.

What are you currently studying?
I am currently leading a study that identifies young children (<12 months) with questionable early closure of sutures or craniosynostosis. The standard of care in our community is the use of skull x-rays to diagnose or exclude the condition, though there is concern for unnecessary radiation exposure. Given the relative safety of ultrasound, the idea is to compare the accuracy of skull ultrasound and skull x-ray as diagnostic tools for this condition. If ultrasound is found to be as accurate as that of a skull x-ray, we can potentially introduce the practice of ultrasound as a screening tool, avoiding the use of ionizing radiation exposure in this young population.

Is limiting radiation a common theme in your research projects?
That's true. I am leading another research study that targets children and teenagers with lymphoma. As an alternative to using PET-CTs (an imaging modality that carries radiation) we are researching the implementation of a functional MRI. This is a knowledge translation project that, if successful, can help to avoid some of the radiation use in imaging children and adolescents with this condition.

What’s next for your research portfolio?
Studying the brain plasticity of babies and children is a fascinating topic that I am hoping to develop at our institution. This research practice area would be in collaboration with the CHEO Research Institute and the CHEO Physiotherapy Department, and in conjunction with other national and international groups.

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