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03 Sep 2019

The Most Detailed MRI Scan Ever

Radiologists at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston have conducted the longest and most detailed MRI scan in history. By placing a brain into an MRI scanner for an impressive five days, they have managed to achieve a resolution as high as 0.1 millimeters. Seeing the brain in this level of detail can increase our understanding of a range of areas within neurology and has the potential to unlock progress for key diseases.

Thankfully, no one had to sit in an MRI scan for five days to undergo this scan! Small movements like a live patients breathing and fidgeting would disrupt the resolution of a scan at this detail level. For this reason, a preserved brain was used of a woman who died of pneumonia three years ago with no neurological damage. 

“We haven’t seen an entire brain like this, It’s definitely unprecedented” said Electrical Engineer Priti Balchandani. Researchers built a sturdy spheroid case of urethane, which was crucial as it allowed air bubbles to escape, preserving the structure of the brain. Under these circumstances, the brain was subject to a massive Seven Tesla MRI machine for the five day period. 

Detailed brain images like this could hold clues for scientists researching elusive brain abnormalities found in conditions such as comas and even mental health conditions such as depression. The images “have the potential to advance understanding of human brain anatomy in health and disease,” according to the researchers involved .  

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