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Mobile low-field MRI scanner makes investigation accessible to masses: Study
USA: A mobile approach wherein a cargo van kitted out with a portable MRI scanner may enable imaging of patients and participants who have mobility challenges are otherwise unable to travel to an imaging center or hospital or live long distances from imaging centers. These are the findings from a recent study published in Scientific Reports.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) helps in visualizing the anatomy and organization of the brain and central nervous system. However, unlike functional near-infrared spectroscopy or electroencephalography (EEG) MRI remains a hospital or center-based modality that cannot be brought to a patient or study participant. However, low magnetic field strength MRI systems offer the potential beyond these traditional hospital and imaging center boundaries.
In the study, Sean C. L. Deoni, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, Providence, RI, USA, and colleagues described the development of a modified cargo van that incorporates a removable low-field permanent magnet MRI system and demonstrate its proof-of-concept.
Using phantom scans and in vivo T2-weighted neuroimaging data, the researchers observed no significant differences with respect to geometric distortion, signal-to-noise ratio, or tissue segmentation outcomes in data acquired in the mobile system compared to a similar static system in a laboratory setting.
Accessible, lower-cost, and portable MRI systems seem promising for mobile imaging based on a human-centered design philosophy in which the scanner and research lab come to the participant.
"In the study, we showed for the first time that a fully mobile MRI system that can reach almost any home in the US and offers quality whole-brain structural imaging without penalty to image quality of geometric fidelity," wrote the authors. "Results are the basis for larger-scale public health and epidemiological neuroimaging studies, potentially utilizing a network of connected mobile scanners, representing a fundamental shift from current standard approaches."
They suggested that while results here are shown in the US, they further envisage translating these results to lower-income countries and settings, many of which have few or no MRI systems, with profound implications for global health and healthcare access.
Deoni, S.C.L., Medeiros, P., Deoni, A.T. et al. Development of a mobile low-field MRI scanner. Sci Rep 12, 5690 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-09760-2
Medha Baranwal joined Medical Dialogues as an Editor in 2018 for Speciality Medical Dialogues. She covers several medical specialties including Cardiac Sciences, Dentistry, Diabetes and Endo, Diagnostics, ENT, Gastroenterology, Neurosciences, and Radiology. She has completed her Bachelors in Biomedical Sciences from DU and then pursued Masters in Biotechnology from Amity University. She has a working experience of 5 years in the field of medical research writing, scientific writing, content writing, and content management. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact no. 011-43720751