Faster, more precise MRI for the medical world

Sep 25, 2004

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) revolutionised the medical world two decades ago, providing doctors with an unparalleled view inside the human body. Now, MRI-MARCB has taken MRI to a new level with a system that enhances image quality, reduces scan time and improves diagnosis.

Currently in use in several hospitals around the world, the MRI-MARCB system overcomes one of the principal problems in producing MR images of the brain and heart: movement.

“Though MRI is an excellent non-intrusive imaging modality with excellent soft tissue contrast it is susceptible to motion because it can take several seconds or even minutes to acquire an image,” explains Kay Nehrke at Philips Medical Systems in Germany, coordinator of this IST-programme funded project. “During that time the patient’s heart is beating and they’re breathing – it’s like taking a photo of a moving object. If the photo takes one second the image will appear blurry. If you follow the object with the camera, however, you’ll get a clear image and that is what we’ve done in a sense.”

The project partners used two different but complimentary techniques to overcome the motion problem. In the case of heart scans a software system was developed to create a mathematical model of the pattern of movement caused by breathing and heart beat. That information is then used to compensate for the motion effects in the resulting MR image. For brain scans, where even the slightest movement of a patient’s head could cause images to be unusable, a camera system was employed alongside the software to track and compensate for motion.

“Without compensation images can be filled with artefacts, making it hard to tell whether you are looking at a clogged artery or just a poor image,” Nehrke says.

With the MRI-MARCB system image quality is greatly improved resulting in more precise diagnosis, while at the same time reducing the time it takes to perform an MRI scan.

“Trials at 10 hospitals with around 200 patients showed a 30 per cent reduction in scan time because of the compensation for movement,” Nehrke notes. “As we all know time is money so this offers important cost savings for hospitals, while patients feel more comfortable because they do not have to worry so much about not moving or even breathing.”

According to the project coordinator, the software can be easily integrated into existing MRI platforms, and the camera system is “relatively inexpensive given the advantages it provides.”

MRI-MARCB is currently being used at hospitals in Germany, Denmark, Japan and the United States, with the project partners planning further commercialisation activities and development in the future.

Explore further: Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The science of anatomy is undergoing a revival

Apr 10, 2014

Only two decades ago, when I was starting my PhD studies at the University of California in Berkeley, there was talk about the death of anatomy as a research subject. That hasn't happened. Instead the science ...

Democratizing science with high speed networks

Apr 01, 2014

In the burgeoning world of nanotechnology, researchers see many potentially useful properties at the interfaces of materials called metal oxides—from magnetoresistance (the reason a hard drive can write ...

Physics: A fundamental force for future security

Feb 13, 2014

What is matter? What is energy? What holds matter together? How do the various constituents of the universe interact at the most basic level? Where does the Earth sit in relation to the rest of the universe? ...

Recommended for you

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

11 hours ago

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

11 hours ago

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Four questions about missing Malaysian plane answered

11 hours ago

Travelers at Asian airports have asked questions about the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Here are some of them, followed by answers.

Android gains in US, basic phones almost extinct

Apr 18, 2014

The Google Android platform grabbed the majority of mobile phones in the US market in early 2014, as consumers all but abandoned non-smartphone handsets, a survey showed Friday.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...