News | May 11, 2012

Children's National Medical Center Breaks MRI Speed Sound Barrier

May 11, 2012 — A team of scientists led by Stanley Fricke, M.D., of the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., broke the "magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sound barrier," a finding that could lead to a hundred-fold increase in MRI speed, according to a new clinical study published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Medical Physics

"Our ultimate goal," said Fricke, "is to image small children in seconds rather than minutes. In this way children will not need to be anesthetized prior to imaging."

Past attempts to substantially accelerate MR imaging failed because gradient pulse sequences (the technology responsible for image formation in an MR machine) can cause twitching or more serious nerve stimulation. To prevent such unwanted and potentially dangerous side effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European regulators put in place limits on gradient strength and speed, based on older clinical studies that used relatively slow gradients. The new Medical Physics study used pulse sequences with rise 100 times faster than conventional MRI to prove that nerve stimulation could be eliminated by employing ultra-fast magnetic gradients.

According to Fricke: "The old speed limits may need to be reviewed in light of this new data. The new technology could lead to the adoption of MRI as a first-line method of assessing coronary artery disease, improve high-resolution brain mapping and implement low-cost dental MRI as a potential non-ionizing-radiation alternative to X-rays." Benjamin Shapiro, M.D., a team member from University of Maryland's Fischell Department of Bioengineering, has proposed using the high gradients with magnetic nanoparticles to improve image-guided minimally invasive therapy.  

The landmark study, funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, challenges decades of conventional wisdom in the MRI field. Increasing the speed and magnitude of gradients has been a long-sought goal in the medical imaging community. "Prior clinical studies concluded that nerve stimulation prevented the use of strong gradient pulse sequences," commented Fricke. He characterized the speed breakthrough as both metaphorically and literally "breaking the sound barrier," since the higher MRI frequency is beyond human hearing ability.

The ultra-strong and ultra-fast gradient technology to break the MRI sound barrier was produced with industry-leading instrumentation created by Weinberg Medical Physics LLC, an R&D lab in Bethesda, Md. Last week, the company was granted a patent for nonstimulating magnetic gradient generation methods.

Related Content

Houston Methodist Hospital Enters Multi-Year Technology and Research Agreement With Siemens Healthineers
News | Imaging | August 17, 2017
Houston Methodist Hospital and Siemens Healthineers have entered into a multi-year agreement to bring cutting-edge...
Carestream Launches MR Brain Perfusion and Diffusion Modules for Vue PACS
Technology | Advanced Visualization | August 16, 2017
Carestream Health recently introduced new MR (magnetic resonance) Brain Perfusion and MR Brain Diffusion modules that...
ISMRM Issues Guidelines for MRI Gadolinium Contrast Agents
News | Contrast Media | August 15, 2017
The International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) has provided new guidance in the use of contrast...
MRI Reveals Striking Brain Differences in People with Genetic Autism

Example images for a control participant , a deletion carrier, and a duplication carrier. In the sagittal image of the deletion carrier, the thick corpus callosum, dens and craniocervical abnormality, and cerebellar ectopia are shown. For the duplication carrier, the sagittal image shows the thin corpus callosum and the axial image shows the increased ventricle size and decreased white matter volume. Image courtesy of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

News | Neuro Imaging | August 09, 2017
August 9, 2017 — In the first major study of its kind, researchers using magnetic...
GE Healthcare's Signa Premier MRI Receives FDA 510(k) Clearance
Technology | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | August 04, 2017
GE Healthcare announced Signa Premier, a new wide bore 3.0T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system, is now available...
brain with chronic traumatic injury
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | August 02, 2017
Fighters are exposed to repeated mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), which has been associated with neurodegenerative...
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | July 31, 2017
Elekta’s magnetic resonance radiation therapy (MR/RT) system will be the subject of 21 abstracts at the 59th American...
NIH-funded scientists have discovered that Parkinson’s disease increases the amount of “free” water in a particular brain area

NIH-funded scientists have discovered that Parkinson’s disease increases the amount of “free” water in a particular brain area. Image courtesy of David Vaillancourt, Ph.D., University of Florida.

News | Neuro Imaging | July 31, 2017
Scientists at the University of Florida have discovered a new method of observing the brain changes caused by Parkinson...
Overlay Init