The motivation for the proposed program is the realization that the current multi-use whole-body MRI scanners limit optimal neuroimaging. Current scanners are based on the one-size-fits-all concept of whole-body imaging and do not have the full range of functionalities that could be achieved in a scanner designed to image only the brain. GE Global Research and the Mayo Clinic propose to jointly develop and validate a radically new MR system optimized for neuroimaging. This system is based on a revolutionary lightweight magnet, gradient and RF design to permit high quality 3T MRI of the human brain. This new scanner will provide much greater patient comfort, markedly improved image quality, and much higher performance in terms of speed and range of imaging capabilities such as gradient strength and slew rate. In addition, the significant reduction in size and weight will allow the placement of the scanner in locations that are currently inaccessible to whole-body MRI scanners. This program will develop: 1) Enabling cryogen-free magnet and gradient technologies include advanced cryogenic and magnet design, head-only high-performance gradients, an RF coil with integrated fMRI simulation capabilities, and optimized patient ergonomics. 2) A high-performance prototype 3T head-only imaging system, that will be evaluated on human volunteers. 3) Optimized image acquisition protocols and image analysis technology to permit improved assessment of brain disorders.
Global Research and the Mayo Clinic propose to develop a new concept MRI brain scanner that is both lightweight and high performance. This scanner represents a 10 times reduction in weight and can be placed in locations that are easily accessible to patients. Successful implementation of this idea will allow greater availability of advanced neuroimaging to meet a range of neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as depression, autism, traumatic brain injury, and stroke.