Researchers vie to develop mobile MRI to fit in a van


In a new development for medical devices, researchers are vying to develop a mobile MRI that will be of great use in hard to access areas. The device is poised for lot of potential to find use in the wellness industry.

Clinically, MRI is one of the best techniques to study different body tissue and obtain information about injuries and illnesses. Typically, MRI scanners are large, heavy, and very expensive that need to be operated by specially trained medical personnel.

To address this, a study launched at Aalto University aims to build new magnetic resonance imaging technology. The objective of the new technology is to enable lighter, cheaper, and more mobile solutions in comparison to current equipment. Mobile MRI equipment which is currently used is the size of a lorry, but the one based on new technology would fit in a van.

Image Quality of Novel MRI technology subpar over High-field Scanners

Functionally, the novel MRI technology uses a magnetic field weaker than the one used in traditional MRI imaging. This allows the equipment to be significantly smaller, stated a researcher at Aalto University involved in the research.

The novel technology uses permanent magnets instead of superconducting electromagnets. The difference is for a permanent magnetic material, the magnetic field is persistent. On the other hand, for electromagnets, the magnetic field is produced by an electric current.

Nonetheless, a low-field MRI scanner does not produce image quality as accurate as high-field scanners, but is sufficient for many purposes. The image thus produced could be suitable to diagnose inflammatory diseases such as maxillary sinusitis and pneumonia, abscesses, internal bleeding, and fluid deposition. MRI equipment development using the novel technology could be utilized in refugee camps or other emergency situations.

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