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Ultra fast magnetic resonance imaging

The European Research Council is to fund Freiburg researchers with 2.5 million euros.

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Hennig © private
The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the granting of Advanced Investigators Grants (ERC Advanced Grants) to seven researchers from Baden-Württemberg, which represents funding totalling up to 2.5 million euros for each researcher. The grants are given to established research leaders in any field of science focusing on basic research projects. One of the grants was given to a project at the University Hospital of Freiburg on the development of ultra fast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for applications in the fields of neurology, the neurosciences and oncology. The project is being coordinated by Professor Dr. Jürgen Hennig, scientific director of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology at Freiburg University Hospital.

Previous MRI methods required between 30 seconds and several minutes to record high-resolution images of the human body in a non-invasive way. The recording time is limited by the method of spatial encoding that is obtained via the use of magnetic field gradients. Professor Hennig’s method is based on one-voxel-one coil (OVOC) acquisition, which is an extreme case of parallel imaging. The spatial resolution is determined by the sensitive volume of small receiving coils without any spatial encoding gradients. This leads to the immediate recording of images, enabling image acquisition rates of 20 – 50 images per second.

In addition to its application in neuroscience studies (brain activity measurements), this new method is also suitable for a broad range of applications used in fast physiological monitoring. Another aspect of the project is looking into the rapid, volumetric acquisition of arterial pulsatility in the brain. The goal of this investigation is to develop a non-invasive, fast and reliable method for the investigation of defective cerebral perfusion, for example in patients with vascular stenosis or infarction. The researchers also hope to use the method in the field of oncology for the physiological characterisation of tumours and metastases needed for therapy planning.

Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/press-release/ultra-fast-magnetic-resonance-imaging