Imaging Discussion Group
Advances in Sodium MRI
Posted January 13, 2010
Magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) provides a variety of stunningly detailed views into the brains, hearts, joints, and other tissues of living human beings and has become a familiar part of medicine. All types of MRIs exploit different properties of a single chemical species, hydrogen, by inducing radiofrequency oscillations of the proton that constitutes its nucleus. In addition to such detailed structural information, however, researchers would like to learn more about the biological function of the tissues. Some proton MRI techniques are sensitive to function, but more direct information at a chemical level could enhance both research and treatment.
After hydrogen, sodium protons generate the second strongest magnetic resonance signals among naturally abundant elements in the body. Sodium is also a key player in the ionic balance that marks healthy cells as well as stabilizes structural tissues such as cartilage. At an April 20, 2006, meeting at the Academy, three speakers addressed the promise of sodium MRI for directly assessing the health of tissue. They also described the difficulties that have kept the technique waiting in the wings for two decades.
Use the tabs above to find a meeting report and multimedia from this event.
Manufacurers of sodium MRI products
GE also offers an MR Masters series of professional training for physicians. See also this press release from the University of Illinois at Chicago and GE concerning the new 9.4 T magnetic imaging technology.
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The Role of Clinical Sodium MR Imaging in Management of Tissue Viability in Stroke and Brain Tumors
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Imaging Sodium Content in Patients with Heart Disease and Cancers
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Sodium MRI for Molecular and Diagnostic Imaging of Cartilage
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Keith Thulborn, MD, PhD
Keith Thulborn received his PhD in biochemistry from University of Melbourne, Australia in 1980, traveled to Oxford University, England, as a postdoctoral researcher from 1979 to 1981 and moved to the United States for medical training, receiving his MD degree from Washington University, St. Louis, MO in 1984.
He then moved to Boston for his internship in pediatrics at the Boston Children's Hospital followed by residency and fellowship training in radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He became at attending in Radiology there and was associated with Harvard University from 1989 to 1993 first as an instructor, then as assistant professor and finally as associate professor of radiology. He moved to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 1993 to develop one of the earliest high-field MRI Centers for Functional Neuroimaging and developed the first clinical 3T MRI scanner. He left as a full professor of radiology to move to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in 2000 as professor of radiology, physiology, and biophysics, and director of the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research at UIC.
Thulborn has made a wide range of fundamental contributions to functional neuroimaging in both imaging technology and clinical applications. Under his leadership, MR Research Center at UIC has completed the world's first 9.4T MRI scanner for human functional neuroimaging, which promises to provide unprecedented opportunities to decode the human brain at biochemical, physiological and anatomical levels.
Paul A. Bottomley, PhD
Paul Bottomley is director of the Division of MR Research at Johns Hopkins University. He and his team are working to develop and evaluate magnetic resonance techniques that show potential for clinical application in cardiology, especially to ischemic heart disease. He has used spatially localized phosphorous MR spectroscopy to study myocardial energy metabolism, and has used proton MR to look at myocardial creatine, an important metabolite that is produced with ATP from the dephosphorylation of phospocreatine in the heart. MRS measures of creatine might be used as a possible index of viability of heart tissue following myocardial infaction (heart attack).
Ravinder Reddy, PhD
Ravinder Reddy obtained his PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur in 1989, and then completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship/research associateship with J. S. Leigh in the University of Pennsylvania Department of Radiology. He is currently a professor of radiology, the Science Director of the Metabolic Magnetic Resonance Research and Computing Center (MMRRCC), and the director of Laboratory for Multinuclear Magnetic Resonance (LMMR) at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of biochemistry and molecular biophysics (BMB) and bioengineering graduate groups at the University of Pennsylvania.
Reddy's research interests are in the general area of theoretical and experimental magnetic resonance (MR) with a particular emphasis on polarization transfer, multiple quantum effects and MR of quadrupolar nuclei (23Na and 17O) in studies of molecular and structural changes in biological tissues.
In particular, he has developed single and multiple quantum methods for studying sodium properties in biological tissues and pioneered the field of sodium MR and spin-locking MRI of cartilage. These studies form the basis for the development of quantitative early diagnostic methods for Arthritis. His other research efforts focus on the development of novel indirect detection methods for measuring oxidative metabolism, which will have significant impact on studies of stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and tumor biology.
Don Monroe is a science writer based in Murray Hill, New Jersey. After getting a PhD in physics from MIT, he spent more than fifteen years doing research in physics and electronics technology at Bell Labs. He writes on biology, physics, and technology.