Greg Freiherr, Industry Consultant

Greg Freiherr has reported on developments in radiology since 1983. He runs the consulting service, The Freiherr Group.

Blog | Greg Freiherr, Industry Consultant | January 05, 2012

MR Patient Comfort Rings in the New Year

Think oval. That’s what you’re doing if you are Hitachi Medical. The company came out with a novel design for high-end magnetic resonance (MR) at the RSNA meeting a couple of months ago, a design that compresses the decades-old circle into an ellipse. The thinking is elementary. The human body is wider horizontally across the shoulders than it is vertically through the chest. Add to that the less than flattering fact that we tend to flatten out when we lie down, especially those of us over the age of 40. So why not add the room in the bore where it is most needed?

The 1.5T Hitachi Echelon Oval does that, laying claim to being the widest of the wide bores, at least along one plane. Horizontally, the Echelon Oval bore extends 74 cm — 4 more than competing circular wide bores. According to Hitachi, its oval is wide enough to fit the most and least athletic of us, while helping to calm the nearly claustrophobic.

Time will tell whether the oval will catch on — or even if it will hang on as an alternative to conventional wide bores. But that’s not really the point. More significant is that the Echelon Oval exists at all.

Hitachi led the open scanner revolution in the mid- to late 1990s. Today, the company is just one of two that offers a commercial system at true high-field, the 1.2T Hitachi Oasis (http://www.itnonline.com/article/hitachi-oasis-mr-receives-klas-award-rs...). The other is Philips with its 1T Panorama HFO (http://www.itnonline.com/article/open-mri-opens-opportunities-referring-...). 

The significance of the Echelon Oval is that, in releasing this oval-shaped wide bore, Hitachi — the pioneer of the open — concedes that 1.5T is beyond the grasp of the open architecture. This concession comes even as the MR community has moved on to 3T.

Together, these developments all but seal open MR as an anomaly on the timeline of MR. If a 1.5T cannot be developed as an open, an open 3T scanner is all but impossible, at least as a commercial development.

So it is with some sorrow in the passing of this grand venture in engineering that we must accept the fact that the open as a future technology is dead.

Long live the ring.

Related Content

New Studies Highlight MRI Use for Prostate Cancer Screening and Management
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | May 21, 2018
Three new studies presented at the 113th annual meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA) highlight the...
MRI "Glove" Provides New Look at Hand Anatomy

An experiment showed that a glove-shaped detector could yield images of bones, cartilage, and muscles interacting as a hand 'plays piano.' Traditionally, MRI had required patients to remain strictly motionless.Image courtesy of Nature Biomedical Engineering; Bei Zhang, Martijn Cloos, Daniel Sodickson

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | May 17, 2018
A new kind of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) component in the shape of a glove delivers the first clear images of...
FDA Clears Medic Vision's iQMR MRI Image Enhancement Technology

Image courtesy of Medic Vision Imaging Solutions

Technology | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | May 15, 2018
May 15, 2018 — Medic Vision Imaging Solutions Ltd. announced that the U.S.
Impaired Brain Pathways May Cause Attention Problems After Stroke
News | Neuro Imaging | May 10, 2018
Damage to some of the pathways that carry information throughout the brain may be responsible for attention deficit in...
Functional MRI Assesses Crocodile Brain Listening to Classical Music

A research team from Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) used functional MRI to assess the brain patterns of a Nile crocodile and determine what happens when the animal hears complex sounds. Image courtesy of Felix Ströckens, M.D./Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | May 08, 2018
May 8, 2018 — In a first, an international research team from the Department of Biopsychology at Ruhr-Universität Boc
7T MRI Provides Precise 3-D Maps of Brain Activity

fMRI of a patient with secondary glioblastoma (brain tumor). Functional localization was measured before surgery by means of a motor task (hand opening and closing). On the left, the uncorrected scan, on the right the result after dynamic image correction. Image courtesy of Quelle: MUW/ High Field MR Centre of Excellence

 

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | May 03, 2018
With the support of the Austrian Science Fund FWF, researchers from Vienna have developed methods to improve functional...
Cardiac MRI being performed at the DeBakey Heart Hospital.

Cardiac MRI being performed at the DeBakey Heart Hospital.

Feature | Cardiac Imaging | May 03, 2018 | By Jeff Zagoudis
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for cardiac assessment provides a radiation-free alternative to other commonly used...
Esaote Change of Ownership Completed
News | Ultrasound Imaging | April 30, 2018
The acquisition of biomedical equipment company Esaote SpA’s share capital was completed on April 19, the company...
ViewRay Unveils New Soft Tissue Visualization Technologies for MRIdian Linac
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | April 30, 2018
ViewRay Inc. announced new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologies under development for its MRIdian Linac...
Brain Scans May Help Diagnose Neurological, Psychiatric Disorders

Brain networks from nine people were analyzed to generate the heat map above, which shows the areas that change the most (red) to the least (green), from person to person. A new study shows that individual brain networks are remarkably stable from day to day and while undertaking different tasks, suggesting that finding differences between individuals could help diagnose brain disorders or diseases. Image courtesy of Caterina Gratton.

News | Neuro Imaging | April 27, 2018
There are no laboratory tests to diagnose migraines, depression, bipolar disorder and many other ailments of the brain...
Overlay Init