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Posts Tagged ‘MRI’

MRI of Woman Giving Birth

December 9, 2010 Leave a comment

MRI of Baby in the birth canal. Photo Credit: Charité Hospital

Wow. Just…wow.

A couple of days ago, a woman in Germany gave birth at the Berlin’s Charité Hospital while inside an MRI scanner

 so scientists could study the birthing process in more detail.

A hospital spokesperson said the entire procedure went well, and both mother and baby are doing well.

Researchers designed a special “open” MRI machine in order to accommodate the experiment. MRI’s are quite loud though, so the mother still had to wear earmuffs, and the procedure was stopped after the amniotic sac broke, in order to protect the baby’s hearing.

MRIs use large coils of wire to generate a strong magnetic field to image the body. Generally, the bigger the magnet means a better picture, so the opening in which the patients lie is as small as possible. In this case, it was more advantageous to have a more open design. A photo of the actual MRI machine used in this experiment was not given, but it would look something like this.

An "open" MRI machine. Photo Credit: Open MRI of Canada

So what was the point of all this? Scientists want to study the birth process better in order to understand what causes complications, and prevent them.

Experiments like this are going to continue, as 5 more mothers have volunteered for the procedure.

Man, how many times have I said I would write a post about the “Physics of MRI”? Quite a few…its coming I promise, cause I have a couple more cool MRI studies to share… stay tuned.

What Would Happen if You Ran 45 Miles Everyday for 2 Months?

December 1, 2010 1 comment

Route of one TransEurope Footrace. Click to enlarge.

And I get proud of myself when I run 3 or 4 miles. This sure is humbling…

But running 2,800 miles (4,500 km) in 2 months is exactly what a group of a few dozen “Ultramarathoners” do every few years in Europe. Its called the TransEurope Footrace, and I am in awe.

Last year, 44 of the 66 participants in this race allowed themselves to be medically examined through the course of the race, to find out exactly what happens to people who exert themselves this way.

The results were presented at the Radiological Society of North American meeting in Chicago this week. The study was entitled: Longitudinal Follow-up of Changes of Body Tissue Composition in Ultra-Endurance Runners during 4.500 km Trans Europe Foot Race 2009 Measured by Whole-Body MR Imaging on a Mobile MR Imaging Truck-trailer. (Yes, the same conference that had the acupuncture presentation I wrote about yesterday.)

So they followed these runners around with an MRI machine in their truck (!) and through the course of the race took 6 full body scans of the runners and measured their body fat content and muscle volume. The results?

We found muscle mass catabolism also in the exposed muscles of the leg. This occurs in every subject. Over all nearly 34% of nonvisceral body fat has been gone after the race. But there was nearly 20% of visceral fat loss, also.

So they found that 7% of muscle mass in the leg was lost through the course of the race as well.

I’m not sure whats more impressive about this study: that they ran 4,500 km, or that they followed them with a friggin’ MRI machine in a friggin’ truck!

Woo Hoo! Isotopes Rule!

August 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Gotta love the Isotopes!

After a 15 month hiatus, the Chalk River nuclear reactor in Ontario, Canada, is starting to once again produce isotopes used for medical  imaging.

The Chalk River reactor produced one third of medical isotopes used for imaging procedures all over the world. Namely, it produced Molybdenum-99, which is created as a fission product in the nuclear reaction.

The Molybdenum-99 isotope is unstable, and will decay into Technetium-99m. The Technetium can then be injected into a patient to perform medical scans.

Molybdenum-99 is kept in specialized containers while it decays into Technetium-99m

Now, I did my Masters thesis on Magnetic Resonance Imaging, so these medical procedures bring back some good memories for me. As such, I am going to start a series of posts describing the “Physics Of…” various medical techniques.

These will include things like X-Rays, PET scans, CAT scans, etc. So look forward to that, its a subject I hold very dear to my heart.