Researchers develop low-cost mobile MRI machine for detecting brain disorders
China: In a new study, a researchers team from Hong Kong have developed a low cost, portable MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine that does not need heavy and expensive shielding and is able to still diagnose brain disorders. "The MRI system we developed is a low cost, ultra-low-field 0.055 T MRI scanner which operates from standard AC wall power outlet only. Such scanner can be made low...
China: In a new study, a researchers team from Hong Kong have developed a low cost, portable MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine that does not need heavy and expensive shielding and is able to still diagnose brain disorders.
"The MRI system we developed is a low cost, ultra-low-field 0.055 T MRI scanner which operates from standard AC wall power outlet only. Such scanner can be made low cost to manufacture, maintain and operate, the researchers wrote in their study published in the journal Nature Communications.
In modern healthcare, magnetic resonance imaging is a key diagnostic tool and allows for imaging soft tissue inside the body giving doctors a view without cutting. However, they are also expensive to operate, are loud, cumbersome, and a nightmare for claustrophobic people. In the paper, the researchers described the development of an MRI machine that they claim can be made and sold for as little as $20,000. It can also be plugged into a standard wall outlet and does not require shielding, and it is also light enough to push from room to room on wheels, the researchers noted.
The cost of the machine was reduced by lowering its magnetic field requirements—from 3 Tesla down to 0.055 Tesla. This was achieved by implementing a deep learning algorithm that cancels out interference between external electromagnetic signals and the magnets needed by the systems. This implies that the new machine does not need shielding, which makes up a lot of the bulk of conventional MRI machines. The slimmed-down version weighs just 750 kg.
The new machine was ttetsed by using patients who were previously diagnosed with brain injuries or impairments and found it capable of producing images that were good enough for diagnosis. The researchers suggests that their machine could be used by more hospitals owing to its lower cost and could be used for bedside applications.
A less expensive version could potentially save millions of lives every year because millions of people around the world live in places where MRI machines are cost-prohibitive.
Liu, Y., Leong, A.T.L., Zhao, Y. et al. A low-cost and shielding-free ultra-low-field brain MRI scanner. Nat Commun 12, 7238 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-27317-1
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