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.
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?
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
Facts about the 4TMRI Scanner