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Liver fibrosis detected with MRE November 4, 2008

Posted by tomography in MRI, Radiology.
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262-2.jpgResearchers at Mayo Clinic were able to show that magnetic resonance elastography (MRE), a modality that looks at tissue stiffness, can identify early signs of hepatic fibrosis. MRE can possibly become one day a noninvasive diagnostic technology of choice for liver fibrosis, replacing the percutaneous liver biopsy that we have to do nowadays.

Further reading:

(Via Medgadget)

– Andras


Enhanced MRI resolution with worms October 16, 2008

Posted by tomography in Innovation, MRI, Radiology.
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Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI for short is a popular noninvasive diagnostic imaging modality. MRI provides much greater contrast between the different soft tissues of the body than computed tomography (CT) and it does not utilize ionizing radiation making, thus it has become popular in Oncology, Neuroradiology, and othe fields of medicine.

In cancer treatment early detection is everything. If one catches a tumor at an early stage, chances of long-term survival are favorable. MRI, amongst other imaging modalities, is used to detect and stage various cancer types. Contrast agents such as Gadolinium may be used to further increase the contrast between normal and abnormal tissues in the human body.

Recently, Michael J. Sailor of the University of California at San Diego have developed an agent called “nanoworm” basically strings of iron-oxide particles, that will attach themselves to cancerous cells and show up more vividly on MRI scan making it easier for doctors to catch tumors at earlier stages before they become incurable. These worms will attach to cancerous cells via cancer-specific antibodies.

Further reading:

– Andras

Mapping the brain August 10, 2008

Posted by tomography in fMRI, MRI, Radiology.
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Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston are experimenting with a new technique called diffusion spectrum imaging that could help us map the network of axons in the human brain. The basic concept is that MRI is very sensitive to water molecules, and as water molecules are diffusing through the axons, their signals may be picked up using this method.

Scientists can use these diffusion measurements to map the wires, creating a detailed blueprint of the brain’s connectivity.

This could help us make risky surgical operations safer, and it could probably help us better understand how the brain works so that diseases such as schizophrenia and autism may be treated some day. Its worth keeping track of these folks’ work!

Further information:

– Andras

The whole brain Atlas March 17, 2008

Posted by tomography in CT, education, MRI, Nuclear Medicine, PET, Radiology, Tomography.
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This morning we’ve received a very helpful comment from Y.S., who is running a medical blog also, prep4md.blogspot.com. He suggested, to visit the site of Harvard Medical School. The library I could explore there was amazing to me.

In The Whole Brain Atlas you can view MRI sections through a living human brain as well as corresponding sections stained for cell bodies or for nerve fibers. The stained sections are from a different brain than the one which was scanned for the MRI images…

foramen monro

A great collection to explore neuroimaging for students and even for MDs. In the Normal brain section you can set slice, anatomical structure, choose between MRI T1 or T2 and even PET. There are some Quicktime motion pictures eg of vascular anatomy. Diseases are sorted, so you can study these separative groups: Cerebrovascular, Neuroplastic, Degenerative and Inflammatory or Infectious disease.

MRIs are allowed anyone to use them with no restrictions as long as you mention their source. Therefor the Copyright information:

All of the images on this site are copyrighted. They were produced with the support of public funds, and we wish to keep them available for public use. You may use them for any purpose which will not interfere with their use by others. We do ask that you SECURE OUR PERMISSION, so that we can track the uses being made.

There is no charge for the permission nor for the use of the images. The permission process is important for our guidance in producing additional images and also for maintaining our public support. We also ask that you credit this site as the source of the image(s), and the National Science Foundation for its support.

Thank you for the tip Y.S!


Neurofibromatosis: MRI can help! March 11, 2008

Posted by tomography in Cancer, MRI, Radiology.
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Today, I was browsing WordPress randomly, and I came across a blog titled Neurofibromatosis Cafe. It is run by Reggie Bibbs, who has a rare disorder called neurofibromatosis. NF is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder, and it has two types:

  • NF 1: Incidence 1:3500
  • NF 2: Incidence 1:40,000

NF 1 is characterized by skin lesions (neurofibromas), hamartomas of the iris, pigmented birthmarks, and tumors of the optic nerve. A typical example is shown here:


NF 2 is characterized by bilateral acoustic neuromas on the vestibulocochlear nerve. Here is a CT scan showing an example of NF 2 (black arrows):

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The problem with neuromas is that they are very difficult to operate and may cause serious symptoms, though benign. A team of surgeons at the Mayo Clinic reported that they can identify patients with confidence whose operational outcomes would be favorable using an 3-Tesla MRI scanner. This is great, because we are talking about a rare disorder, therefor surgeons cannot get adequate experience to operate neurofibromas with high success. If the surgeon is able to visualize the anatomical position and relation correctly beforehand, then the operation will more likely succeed.

This new technology allows a multidisciplinary approach to be performed safely in these rare tumors that were once considered unresectable, says Dr Spinner.

If you would like to get more information, I recommend the following articles and websites:

And a video from YouTube:

– Andras

fMRI: Reading your mind March 8, 2008

Posted by tomography in fMRI, MRI, Radiology.
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The brain is the largest consumer of oxygenated blood in the human body. When neural activity increases in certain areas of the brain, during talking or pondering a problem for example, perfusion of those areas are hence increased. This change in blood supply can be detected by fMRI or functional magnetic resonance imaging thanks to two phenomena:

  • the different signals of oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin,
  • and the increased local perfusion.

With the BOLD (blood oxygen level dependent) technique it is possible to map a patient’s brain before a risky surgery so that important areas such as Broca’s or Wernicke’s can be spared.

(Broca’s area activated in four patient’s. Source: Journal of Young Investigators.)

Just recently, in a research paper published in Nature, scientists at The University of California at Berkeley claim to have figured out a way to predict the image that their subject is looking at.

Their experiement consisted of two phases. In the first phase the subjects were asked to view 1750 images and their brain activity was monitored with fMRI. This means that every 4 seconds a MRI scan was obtained. During the second phase the subjects were shown 120 novel images, and the software, based on previous experience, “guessed” what image the subjects were looking at.

How accurate was the software? In some cases it was correct 9 out of 10 times. In others its performance was very low; about 0,8%. How can these results contribute to scientific development?

Our results suggest that it may soon be possible to reconstruct a picture of a person’s visual experience from measurements of brain activity alone. Imagine a general brain-reading device that could reconstruct a picture of a person’s visual experience at any moment in time.

So, in the near future it might be possible to decode and store dreams for further viewing with this technique. I can think of one practical use: that is to help people suffering from PTSD verbalize their traumatizing experiences.

Further reading:

– Andras

Flick’r misses tomography February 29, 2008

Posted by tomography in CT, MRI, Off Topic, Radiology, Tomography, web 2.0, X-ray.
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We’ve been posting some really great tools (this and this too -András’s great collection) you can use at your work. One of them was Flick’r, so it’s not the first time you can read about it on our blog, and I’m sure it’s not the last. Surfing this huge base of pictures, I was searching for any groups dealing with radiology or nuclear medicine.

The best way to store, search, sort and share images.

flickr logo

Honestly I wasn’t that successful. Xray is quite popular, but no PET, SPECT images. I think doctors haven’t discovered the great potential, Flick’r provides, yet.

Here are some examples on Flickr Groups about radiology:

  • RadsWiki made by a radiology residental in NYC and the webmaster of for his radiology wiki
  • Nasty xray
  • Real radiology A great radiology group with more than 450 photos detailed!
  • Orthopaedic image library The name tells what it’s about.
  • MRI
  • Tomography Tomographic images of any kind, including but not limited to MRI, PET, and plain old X-ray CT. Photos of the equipment and people used to make the images is fine in limited amounts, but the main focus is the tomographic images.
  • Biopsy Feel free to add imaging of any radiology-guided biopsy procedure.
  • The Bassett Collection: The Basset Collection, which now belongs to Stanford University’s School of Medicine, is the definitive dissection collection available to medical students and instructors. These incredibly detailed dissections show and label most every part of the human body, from its tiniest veins, arteries and nerves to serial cross-sections of the spinal cord.

Hopefully, the number of pictures about radiology or even nuclear medicine will grow exponentially in the near future e.g. at Flickr. It would be useful for students as well, as they cannot always go and see these pics.


    Face/Off – Inside a CT and MRI scanner January 31, 2008

    Posted by tomography in CT, MRI, Radiology.
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    CT and MRI scanners have been in use for a long time. They allow us to look inside the human body without even touching it. But have you ever wondered what is inside these machines? What lies beneath the futuristic white plastic casing? I performed a couple searches using some of the most popular search engines, but I could not come up with anything worth mentioning. I guess, its because this kind of information is sort of secret, and companies don’t usually put their machines on show without the casing. So I was about to give up trying, when I accidentally stumbled upon these two images on Flick’r. The first one shows the insides of an MRI scanner made by Philips. This photo was posted by FHefka. Take a good look at it, because this is a rare shot!


    Te second one is yet another rare shot, but this time it is a CT scanner posted by thekidds. I could not download this image, so if you are curious about it, please follow this link: