Having an MRI is very useful clinically, however it’s costly, time-consuming and sometimes not even an option. Siemens is developing a new scanner that uses more coils to get a faster and higher-resolution picture. Here’s an excerpt from Technology Review:
MRI machines in medical centers typically have up to 12 coils, but the new devices under development have up to 96 coils arrayed in a dense field over the scalp. “A small detector up close is more efficient,” says Lawrence Wald, a biophysicist at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), whose team has developed the devices in collaboration with Siemens. “But it only captures a small part of the brain, so you need lots of small detectors spread out over the scalp.” Each coil measures a small but highly accurate spin signal from the chunk of brain tissue beneath it. The images are then computationally stitched together to create a high-resolution picture of the brain.
…The instrument could also impact our basic understanding of the brain. “The spatial resolution of fMRI is somewhat limited,” says Gabrieli. “We’ve hit the wall on a lot of scientific questions.” With higher-resolution images, scientists could try to determine neurological basis of various aspects of cognitive function. Gabrieli, for example, says that he’d like to figure out if different parts of the amygdala–a small structure deep in the brain that plays a key role in emotion–regulate different emotions, such as fear and joy.
Read the article here…