News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | December 16, 2021

Researchers at the University of Tsukuba place a radio-frequency repeater inside an MRI machine that allows it to detect sodium ions, which may lead to enhanced clinical imaging and monitoring functionality at very low cost

University of Tsukuba researchers have demonstrated a proof-of-concept modification to enable standard MRI systems to detect frequencies associated with the presence of sodium-23 ions. This low-cost and convenient approach requires the installation of a radio-frequency repeater inside the magnetic bore of an MRI machine. The wide applicability of this method for sodium and other nuclei may allow advanced medical imaging to be performed on existing machines, and substantially reduce MRI scanner upgrade costs

December 16, 2021 — Scientists at the University of Tsukuba demonstrated how conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines can be retrofitted to detect sodium ions using a cross band radio-frequency repeater. This work may allow for new medical diagnostics to be performed without expensive new equipment.

Magnetic resonance imaging has become a crucial part of the medical toolkit for non-invasive visualization of internal organs. MRI machines operate by placing the patient in a very strong magnetic field, which will cause the nuclear spins of atoms in the body to align in the same direction, essentially acting like tiny magnets. Then, a radio-frequency (RF) signal of a very specific frequency is applied, which has the ability to flip the direction of the spins. When the nuclei relax back to their original aligned state, the precession of these spins about the magnet field direction can be measured by RF detector coils to determine the concentration of that particular atom. The majority of MRI machines in use today are optimized to look for the presence of hydrogen (1H) nuclei, which are naturally abundant in the body as a component of water molecules. Retrofitting such a machine for detecting other isotopes, like sodium-23 23Na, would require a great deal of expensive hardware upgrades.

Now, a team of researchers at the University of Tsukuba have demonstrated a proof-of-concept method for equipping a conventional MRI machine with the capability to image 23Na by installing a cross band RF repeater system. This is a device that receives signals at a certain frequency and rebroadcast at a different one. “The RF repeater, which is a commonly used device in amateur radio, can be placed directly inside the magnet bore of an existing MRI machine as a cost-effective upgrade,” explains author Professor Yasuhiko Terada. This allows the frequency produced by 23Na, which is around 17 MHz, to be detected by the coils tuned at the 64 MHz of MRI.

The research team tested the system with a saline “phantom” and an anesthetized mouse. Even though the resulting signal was much lower compared with custom-built 23Na machines, it could be amplified to produce comparable images. “Watching the motion of sodium ions inside the body provides detailed metabolic information not available from conventional MRI images,” Professor Terada says. 23Na imaging has already been shown to be useful for applications involving the kidney, owing to its large sodium concentration, as well as the brain and heart. This approach may substantially reduce health care costs by providing completely new abilities to existing machines without requiring a complete refurbishment.

The work is published in Magnetic Resonance in Medical Sciences as “Development of an add-on 23Na-MRI radiofrequency platform for a 1H-MRI system using a crossband repeater: proof-of-concept” (DOI:10.2463/mrms.tn.2021-0094).

For more information: www.tsukuba.ac.jp/en/

Related Content

News | Radiation Therapy

June 24, 2022 — Recently, a collaborated research team led by Prof. LI Hai and WANG Hongzhi from Hefei Institutes of ...

Time June 24, 2022
arrow
News | MRI Breast

June 22, 2022 — According to ARRS’ American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR), contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM) may be a ...

Time June 22, 2022
arrow
News | Artificial Intelligence

June 9, 2022 — Infinitt North America and Brainreader A/S announced today a wide ranging and unique partnership to ...

Time June 09, 2022
arrow
News | Ultrasound Imaging

June 7, 2022 — According to ARRS’ American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR), ultrasound-derived fat fraction (UDFF) is ...

Time June 07, 2022
arrow
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)

June 7, 2022 — Two-year results from the Dysphagia-Aspiration Related Structures (DARS) trial, which is funded by Cancer ...

Time June 07, 2022
arrow
News | Radiation Therapy

June 3, 2022 — Henry Ford Health is the first in the world to complete a full course of patient treatments using the ...

Time June 03, 2022
arrow
Feature | Radiology Business | By Melinda Taschetta-Millane

Here is what you and your colleagues found to be most interesting in the field of medical imaging during the month of ...

Time June 01, 2022
arrow
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

June 1, 2022 — SyntheticMR, an innovative software solutions company for magnetic resonance imaging announced hat their ...

Time June 01, 2022
arrow
News | Coronavirus (COVID-19)

June 1, 2022 — According to ARRS’ American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR), evaluating chest CT findings offers an ...

Time June 01, 2022
arrow
News | Artificial Intelligence

May 31, 2022 — Patient trust is not a barrier to artificial intelligence (AI) adoption by medical imaging professionals ...

Time May 31, 2022
arrow
Subscribe Now