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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 10/29/02
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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High Power MRI Scanner to be Delivered October 30

On Wednesday afternoon, October 30, a 19-ton magnet to be used in a 4 Tesla (4T) MRI scanner will be delivered to the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine through the receiving entrance to the Medical Sciences Building on Eden Avenue. A Tesla is a unit of magnetic field strength. Stephen Strakowski, MD, director of the new Center for Imaging Research (CIR) at UC said, "When assembled, the new 4T MRI scanner will be one of the highest-field MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanners in the state and one of only about a dozen 4T systems in the country." MRI scanners that are traditionally used to detect and diagnose disease are 1.5T. This is the first 4T MRI system in Ohio and it will be assembled and ready for researchers to use in January 2003.

Critical to medical and scientific discoveries, MRI scanners provide the most detailed images of the structure, chemical processes and function of the brain within a living human being. A sophisticated computer interprets the signals given off by water molecules in tissues as they respond to a strong magnetic force field and short pulses of radio signals. The stronger the magnet, the better the clarity and precision of the images. These images provide the clearest pictures possible of the active brain function. Such images will provide researchers information about the brain that can lead to advances in many disorders and diseases including: Alzheimer's disease, autism, anxiety disorders, depression and bipolar disorders, stroke, epilepsy, brain tumors, traumatic brain damage, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, migraines, and certain metabolic disorders.

Some of the questions that the new scanner will help answer include:

  • Which specific chemical in the brain is abnormal in these diseases?

  • What causes someone to overeat, be depressed, or be obsessive-compulsive?

  • Is the structure of the brain altered?

  • Does the absence or presence of certain chemicals promote or prevent progressive damage to the brain?


"With this new scanner, we can measure more chemicals in the brain than with lower-field systems, which will lead to a greater understanding of the many mental illnesses caused by chemical imbalances," Dr. Strakowski said. "These new high-field scanners can also give us visible proof that a medication is acting on brain cells in individuals with various brain disorders."

Facts about the 4TMRI Scanner

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