News | Artificial Intelligence | July 17, 2018

Artificial Intelligence Provides Faster, Clearer MRI Scans

Machine learning software produces better signal and less noise than conventional MRI techniques

Artificial Intelligence Provides Faster, Clearer MRI Scans

A new artificial-intelligence-based approach to image reconstruction, called AUTOMAP, yields higher quality images from less data, reducing radiation doses for CT and PET and shortening scan times for MRI. Shown here are MR images reconstructed from the same data with conventional approaches, at left, and AUTOMAP, at right. Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital

July 17, 2018 — A research team with funding from the National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) has developed an advanced computing technique for rapidly and cost effectively improving the quality of biomedical imaging. The technology, called AUTOMAP, uses machine learning and software, referred to as neural networks — inspired by the brain’s ability to process information and perceive or make choices. AUTOMAP finds the best computational strategies to produce clear, accurate images for various types of medical scans.

In their study in the March 21, 2018, issue of Nature, the researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and Harvard University found that the AUTOMAP system could produce brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images with better signal and less noise than conventional MRI techniques. Achieving a good signal-to-noise ratio is a key factor in generating a quality MRI scan.

MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of tissues inside the body. Noise from either electronic sources or from tissues in the body are detrimental to image quality, so imagers look for ways to lessen its effect.

“The signal-to-noise ratio improvements we gain from this artificial intelligence-based method directly accelerates image acquisition on low-field MRI,” said lead author Bo Zhu, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow in radiology at Harvard Medical School and in physics at the MGH Martinos Center. NIBIB has supported Zhu’s postdoctoral research on this project. He added that the AUTOMAP neural network will be compatible with novel image acquisition strategies and unconventional hardware designs.

AUTOMAP churns through — and learns from — data from existing images and applies mathematical approaches in reconstructing new ones. The team used a set of 50,000 MRI brain scans from the NIH-supported Human Connectome Project to train the AUTOMAP system to reconstruct images in their study, successfully demonstrating improvements in reducing noise and reconstruction artifacts over existing methods.

AUTOMAP achieves almost instantaneous image reconstruction, according to senior author Matt Rosen, Ph.D., director of the Low-field MRI and Hyperpolarized Media Laboratory and co-director of the Center for Machine Learning at the MGH Martinos Center. The reason for the rapid processing speed — just tens of milliseconds — is that the neural network has no cycles or loops, rather is a feedforward system.

“Some types of scans currently require time-consuming computational processing to reconstruct the images,” Rosen said. “In those cases, immediate feedback is not available during initial imaging, and a repeat study may be required to better identify a suspected abnormality. AUTOMAP would provide instant image reconstruction to inform the decision-making process during scanning and could prevent the need for additional patient visits.”

“This technology could become a game changer, as mainstream approaches to improving the signal-to-noise ratio rely heavily on expensive MRI hardware or on prolonged scan times,” said Shumin Wang, Ph.D., director of the NIBIB program in magnetic resonance imaging. “It may also be advantageous for other significant MRI applications that have been plagued by low signal-to-noise ratio for decades, such as multi-nuclear spectroscopy.”

For more information: www.nature.com/nature

Reference

Zhu B., Liu J.Z., Cauley S.F., et al. "Image reconstruction by domain-transform manifold learning." Nature, March 21, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature25988

Related Content

 MaxQ AI
News | Artificial Intelligence | November 13, 2019
November 13, 2019 – MaxQ AI announced a new partnership agreement with...
An image on Brigham and Women's Hospital's 7T MRI system

An image on Brigham and Women's Hospital's 7T MRI system. Image courtesy of Brigham and Women's Hospital

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | November 13, 2019
November 13, 2019 — Increased immune system activity along the surface of the brain, or meningeal inflammation, may b
 Paxera Ultima 360
News | Enterprise Imaging | November 12, 2019
November 12, 2019 — Medical Imaging developer PaxeraHealth will showcase the
 Lunit RSNA
News | Artificial Intelligence | November 12, 2019
November 12, 2019 — Lunit, a leading medical AI software company devoted to provi
Radiographer Apollo Exconde with his Lego concept open MRI for patient education.

Radiographer Apollo Exconde with his Lego concept open MRI for patient education.

News | Patient Engagement | November 11, 2019
November 11, 2019 — Radiographer Apollo Exconde...
 Laurel Bridge Machine Learning workflow
News | Artificial Intelligence | November 08, 2019
November 8, 2019 — Laurel Bridge Software announces the new Laurel Bridge
Image by Dr. Manuel González Reyes from Pixabay

Image by Dr. Manuel González Reyes from Pixabay 

News | SPECT Imaging | November 08, 2019
November 8, 2019 — Using ground-breaking technology, researchers at the...
This chest X-ray of a patient being treated for e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury shows lung opacities, densities and whitish cloud-like areas which are typically seen with unusual pneumonias, fluid in lungs or lung inflammation. Image courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare

This chest X-ray of a patient being treated for e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury shows lung opacities, densities and whitish cloud-like areas which are typically seen with unusual pneumonias, fluid in lungs or lung inflammation. Image courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare

News | Clinical Trials | November 08, 2019
November 8, 2019 — As the outbreak of lung injuries and deaths associated with e-cigarettes, or...
Unlike other technologies for imaging the placenta, pCASL MRI can distinguish maternal blood from fetal blood

Image courtesy of Pixabay

News | Clinical Trials | November 07, 2019
November 7, 2019 — A new imaging technique to track