The first brain image taken with an ultra low field MRI

Ultra low field MRI

Ya’ll know that MRI machines are great hulking lumps o’ metal filled with pulsing tubes of liquid helium and evil superconducting magnets that’ll rip yer fillings out if ya as much as smile at ‘em.

All that bulk is necessary to create the fantastic magnetic fields of several Tesla needed make the protons in yer body to line up in a way that makes it possible to image them.

Now all that is set to change thanks to Vadim “Eye teeth” Zotef and buddies at the Los Alamos National Labroatory in New Mexico. They gone and built themselves a machine that can image the brain using fields of only a few microTesla. Yep, thats microTesla. That has the potential to make MRI machines much smaller, perhaps even suitcase size

The trick is to use ultrasensitive devices known as SQUIDs (superconducing quntum interference devices) to do the imaging at much lower magfnetic field strengths. SQUIDs are so sensitive that they can pick up the magnetic fields generated by yer brain even as ya are a-thinkin and a-dreamin.

So Eye Teeth Zotef has combined the two things into one new toy: an ultra low field MRI machine plus a magnetoencephalograph.

This picture shows several layers from the first 3D image of a human skull and brain made in this way.

Champagne all round. (Or is it MGD they drink over at Los Alamos? Ah forget.)

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0711.0222: Microtesla MRI of the Human Brain with Simultaneous MEG

3 Responses to “The first brain image taken with an ultra low field MRI”

  1. devicerandom says:

    (offtopic)
    Just a little opinion: are the nicknames you always put on scientists necessary? They just sound silly and make reading the post confusing, especially if I link your posts to some collegue. Of course it’s your blog, and you’re free to do whatever you want. I like a lot your blog and I follow it daily via rss, but in my humble opinion the nicknames should be avoided.

  2. KFC says:

    I hear ya, man.

  3. whitefanggoesdingo says:

    Don’t you pay no nevermind to devicerandom and his kind. They obviously don’t get the point of brandin’ (cattle or otherwise) in a post Bart Simpson communications paradigm. When yer trekin’ across the length and breadth of theoretical physics, humor is yer cactus in the desert. It keeps ya goin’ and it makes the terrain a lot more mem’rable. Cuttin’ out the nicknames would be like tellin’ Douglas Hofstadter: we’d like our incompleteness theorem MINUS those cute little chats between Achilles and the Tortoise, or: Hey George Gamov, can you cut the silly drawings and dish out the quantum mechanics textbook straight? While we’re at it let’s tell Richard Feynman: less yappin’, more mathin’ y’all.
    One day physicists will brag about the nicknames they’ve earned from this here blog. It’s how they’ll know they’ve made it.
    I’m sure there are plenty of us hidein’ out here in the wilderness — along with a publisher or two — who get what you’re shootin’ fer and we like it just fahn.