Open or Wide Bore MR?

May 25, 2011

That’s the question researchers from Germany try to answer in the CLAUSTRO trial (start Feb 2011). According to the authors: “The goal is to analyze the rate of claustrophobic reactions and clinical utility of an open MR scanner in a randomized comparison with a recently designed short-bore but closed scanner with 97% noise reduction. This trial will be the first to appraise the potential for claustrophobia reduction and clinical relevance of open MR scanners in claustrophobic patients with a clinical indication for MR imaging. Furthermore, this trial will analyze and compare the cost-effectiveness of the two MR scanners, which is important in view of the enormous annual loss of healthcare productivity due to claustrophobia during MR imaging. Also, patient preferences and image quality will be analyzed. Thus, this randomized trial may have the potential to influence both the clinical and economical utilization of MR imaging.”
This is a very interesting trial that will yield a comparison between the two systems from a patient point of view, which is very important. The success of a good MR scan depends a lot on how comfortable the patient feels, given the fact that he/she has to lie still for quite some time.
For more information, please refer to: Reduction of claustrophobia during magnetic resonance imaging: methods and design of the “CLAUSTRO” randomized controlled trial

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3T MRI in pediatrics

May 17, 2011

3T MRI is being increasingly performed for clinical purposes. The increased SNR is a significant advantage in pediatrics – improved spatial and temporal resolution assist in overcoming the major anatomic, physiologic and behavioural challenges of imaging children. 3T MRI has the potential to image all the systems in pediatrics. However, optimising the parameters with due consideration to specific pediatric features, such as the increased water content of non myelinated brain, is essential. The neonatal brain and pediatric spine are difficult to image at 3T. Several factors also limit cardiac imaging at present. Further improvements in coil technology and newer sequences may help overcome the challenges that remain. On the other hand, some 3T artefacts inherent to specific anatomic regions, like the dielectric effects encountered in adult abdominal imaging, are less problematic in pediatrics due the smaller size.
For more information, see this white paper

Anyone that has worked with ultrasound imaging knows how difficult it is to recognise structures with the naked eye. Training and experience play a very important role in interpreting those images, and, most importantly, in recognising anomalities.
A recent study by researchers from California has shown that detailed instruction in obtaining 3DUS images of fetal profiles improved the image quality obtained by phisicians. Teaching physicians in a standardized way may help improve the use of 3DUS in clinical practice for a broader spectrum of pathologies: for instance, in image guidance for radiotherapy & brachytherapy in gyneacology, breast, prostate and other cancer types.

Researchers from the Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY USA have developed an algorithm that makes use of the elasticity properties of tissues to characterize malignant tumors. They use an ultrasound device and they process the radiofrequency data to reconstruct the linear and non-linear elasticity properties of tissue, by calculating the displacement within the tissue and mapping the spatial distribution with the material properties that would give that displacement. In order to measure the non-elasticity properties, the tissue needs to be deformed up to 20%, which limits the areas of application of this technology. Currently, they are investigating atherosclerosis disease and skin cancer, besides breast.
For more information, please refer to the published article

Autofluorescence imaging is becoming more and more important in the assessment of the severity of a variety of diseases. Recently, researchers from Vojvodina, Clinic for Pulmonary Oncology, Serbia, have shown the benefits of autofluorescence imaging videobronchoscopy (AFI). AFI is one of the new systems of autofluorescence bronchoscopy designed for thorough examination of bronchial mucosa. Indications for AFI go from evaluation of early-stage lung cancer and detection of precancerous lesions, to evaluation of tumor extension or follow-up after surgical resection. This technique provides clear differentiation between normal and pathologically altered mucosa. However, AFI has a low specificity in the detection of premalignant lesions, early-stage lung cancer. According to the researchers, this disadvantage could be overcome by addition of backscattered light analysis, ultraviolet spectra, fluorescence-reflectance or dual digital systems. In addition, quantitative image analysis is also required to reduce intra and inter-observer variability in the assessment of the disease. For more information, Expert Rev Med Devices. 2011 Mar;8(2):167-72.

MR keeps bringing exciting images of the human body. Who would have expected to have a woman in labor having an MR scan? Well, last November, physicians at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin followed the birth of a child on an open MR system. The movements of the baby in the birth canal to the exit of the head, were monitored through MR imaging.
This is part of a study that tries to show some light into the fact that 15% of pregnant women need a C-section because of the baby not moving properly into the birth canal.

If you are one of those looking forward to the ‘touch’ technology being ready for medical imaging devices, you’ll be happy to hear about the newly released 46-inch medical multitouch table display designed by Sectra to permit multiple users to interact with real-size 3D images generated by CT and MRI scanners.
This device allows two or three clinicians to visualize and manipulate postprocessed images of different types of tissues by using virtual knifes to cut through sections, rotate images, magnify and view particular areas of interest in greater detail.
This visualization table also has an educational purpose as a platform clinical conferences and virtual autopsies.
For more information, visit Sectra