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Progress Made in Portable/Bedside MRI Development

AI-Enhanced Portable MRI Prototype Offers Promise for Wider Availability

Medical News

portable bedside MRI

In an article published in May 2024, researchers describe the development of a whole-body ultra-low field MRI scanner prototype that does not need the typical radiofrequency and magnetic shielding cages used in current MRIs, can run on standard household current, and is portable.  Current MRIs use 1.5 to 3 Teslas, a measure of magnetic strength, while the new ultra-low field MRI uses only 0.05 Teslas.  However, the image quality of ultra-low field MRI is inferior to standard MRI.  To try to correct this, the authors used artificial intelligence, deep learning–based methods that integrated image reconstruction and super-resolution images. The authors reported that they were able to remarkably improve the image clarity and quality of ultra-low field MRIs done on volunteers. 


Comments:

This ultra-low field MRI scanner prototype, or one like it, may be a game changer.  If it is commercially feasible, produces quality images, as it is potentially portable might allow point-of-care MRI in areas such as intensive care units.  It would also be quieter, done in a more open environment, and possibly allow more people to have MRIs who currently cannot because of metal in their bodies or inserted medical devices.  It could allow a wider availability to MRI technology around the world, as it would also be much less expensive than current MRIs.  Despite inferior imaging clarity compared to standard MRIs, the development of artificial intelligence and deep learning with neural networks appear to significantly improve ultra-low field MRI image quality to potentially make it a viable option.   


Resources:

ZhaoY et al. Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging at 0.05 Tesla. Science. 10 May 2024. Vol 384, Issue 6696. https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adm7168

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