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Development and testing of multi-nuclear imaging on the GE 7T whole body scanner is currently underway. We have successfully generated images and spectrum from 23Na and 31P using physical phantoms. The MRRF currently has three multi-nuclear coils from RapidMRI: 1) 31P/1H Brain, 2) 23Na/1H Brain, and 3) 23Na/1H Flex Coil.
We have begun scanning healthy participants for the GE MR950 Whole Body 7T MR Scanner in our facility. Active research programs by faculty in the MR Research Facility (MRRF) include the development of innovative imaging methods to accelerate image acquisition, new techniques to study brain function, the creation of novel imaging agents, and the development of multi-modal imaging probes. These multi-disciplinary research projects are supported by grants from NSF, NIH, DOD, VA and private foundations. Some of these research projects for the new 7T scanner include the use of T1p imaging techniques to measure pH resulting from brain activity. They have shown that T1p uses a rotating frame that is sensitive to detect widespread pH fluctuations during normal function. T1p as an imaging biomarker has been most recently applied in bipolar disorder and Huntington's Disease to gain new insights into brain changes in these conditions. If you are interested in being scanned on our 7T scanner as a healthy pilot subject please let us know at MRIResearch@healthcare.uiowa.edu.
March 2015 began the era of 7T brain imaging at the University of Iowa. We have begun human brain imaging on healthy volunteers with our GE MR950 scanner, and the results are already showing us new things. Above are shown sample images from T2-weighted (left panel) and FLAIR (right panel) acquisitions, where we are beginning to optimize sequences and protocols for 7T. We have also been gaining experience with BRAVO (the GE version of magnetization-prepared gradient scho) and SWAN (the GE version of susceptibility weighted imaging).
Installation of the Magnetic Resonance Research Facility's new 7T scanner is almost complete! We have begun to acquire images in phantoms and other materials as our system is tested and calibrated. The image above is a sample of the kind of exquisite detail we hope to see once we begin human imaging. Can you guess what it is?
New picture, new insight
In a study published January 6, 2015 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, UI researchers showed that quantitative T1ρ MRI yielded significant differences in the cerebral white matter and the cerebellum of patients with by bipolar disorder compared to matched control subjects. T1ρ imaging is thought to be sensitive to changes in pH and/or glucose concentration, factors that are influenced by cellular metabolism. This imaging research is providing new understanding of the mechanisms of bipolar disorder and may help in its diagnosis and treatment.
The full paper is "Brain abnormalities in bipolar disorder detected by quantitative T1ρ mapping" (link), authored by Casey Johnson, Robin Follmer, Ipek Oguz, Lois Warren, Gary Christensen, Jesse Fiedorowicz, Vincent Magnotta, and John Wemmie.
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