Simulator Evaluates Effect of High-Field MRI on Breast Tissues

MRI machines used in hospitals today are generally limited to having magnetic fields no stronger than 3 Tesla. This is partially because a higher resonant magnetic field can, in certain cases, heat up living tissues and cause permanent damage. But, knowing whether patients would really suffer inside powerful MRI machines has remained a challenge.

Now researchers at Purdue University have built a patient simulator that estimates the effects that a powerful MRI machine (7 Tesla) would have on different breast tissues. The research may help make so-called high-field MRI machines more common in hospitals while increasing the diagnostic accuracy of results obtained from these machines.

The researchers simulated 20 different breast tissue types and evaluated the amount of localized heat that would be generated within the scanned tissues. The denser the tissue, the hotter it gets since it is able to absorb more of the electromagnetic waves hitting it.

While this study is not conclusive enough to begin rolling out high-field MRIs, it does provide an open-source tool for other researchers to be able to study the issue further. Moreover, the technology may help give powerful MRI machines therapeutic capabilities, not just diagnostic ones. That is because the heat generated within tissues affected by MRI, if harnessed and targeted properly, may end up serving as a non-invasive tool for killing deep-seated tumors.

Study in Magnetic Resonance in Medicine: Toward 7T breast MRI clinical study: safety assessment using simulation of heterogeneous breast models in RF exposure…

Via: Purdue…

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