The evolution of MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to form pictures of the anatomy and the physiological processes of the body in both health and disease. MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields to generate images of the organs in the body. MRI does not involve X-rays or the use of ionizing radiation, which distinguishes it from CT or CAT scans and PET scans.

Invented in the early 80s, MRIs have been constantly innovated ever since. In fact, every year there are thousands of research papers and clinical studies that are published in efforts to expand scope of MRI to diagnose more diseases, more comfortably than ever before.

This innovation has led to new hardware used to acquire images of the human body, new sequences or approaches to images and new diagnostic tests. A useful analogy is the camera on your mobile phone. In the early 2000s it was possible to take low-resolution black and white photos on early Nokia phones, today you can take high resolution beautiful pictures with a range of interesting filters and techniques on the latest iPhone. The same sort of innovation has happened in the MRI world.

More comfortable, faster, more accurate, fewer false positives

The most noticeable innovation in modern MRIs is that they have become much more comfortable and faster. Early MRIs were likened to a narrow little coffin and it was not unusual to feel claustrophobic during the procedure. Today, new MRI machines are typically very wide and quite short, which means that there is more space when your head in inside the machine and you spend the majority of the time with your head outside the machine when your body is being imaged.

Less noticeable to patients is new software that drives the MRI, much like filters can be applied to camera photos. Early MRI machines took high contrast B&W-like images that showed in high resolution anatomical detail and could easily find features in patient's bodies that radiologists determined with abnormal. However, they had a hard time determining whether that abnormal feature was benign or something that you should be worried about. Doctors grew wary of putting patients in an MRI because of the risk of "false-positives". Today new MRI sequences are available that enable radiologists to more easily determine malignancy and as a result the rate of false positive has dropped tremendously.

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Growing list of conditions that MRI can diagnose

Finally we have found new uses for MRIs, particularly in the area of functional imaging. New techniques are becoming available to identify conditions that go beyond anatomical changes. Radiologists can now routinely diagnose conditions such as fatty liver disease, dementia and heart disease using MRI, and we expect the list of conditions that it will cover to continue to grow into the future.

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Introducing advanced MRI

The images that can be acquired through advanced MRI are vastly more comprehensive than through traditional MRI. Over the course of a one-hour evaluation over 180M datapoints can be collected on your body, imaging it at 19 different tissue weights or filters.

Full body advanced MRI differs from other whole body MRI approaches in that they collect around 10X the images at higher resolution. The greater the number of images and the better the quality, the more medical diagnoses can be made.

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Introducing Prenuvo full-body diffusion weighted imaging

The cancer detector exclusive to Prenuvo and its clinics

At Prenuvo, the single biggest evolution in our rate of detection and accuracy of detection has been the mastering of full body three-dimensional diffusion-weighted imaging.

Dr Raj Attariwala MD

The workhorse of advanced MRI is a sequence known as diffusion-weighed imaging (called "DWI"). This is a sequence that can only be performed on certain machines and, while it has been the subject of hundreds of academic papers, it has found little use in the real world, Our belief is that DWI is critical to detecting suspicious masses inside the body.

You may have heard the expression that the human body is 60% water. This is actually true (in fact for infants it is closer to 80%). Much of this water is not inside our cells, It is between the cells in our body.

DWI is a complex sequence (with some equally complex mathematics) that measures the extent to which this water is free to move around inside our bodies. Parts of the body where fluid is under pressure, such as the brain or the spinal cord show as dark patches on these images.

Solid masses (of which malignant tumors are one possibility) tend to be packed tightly together as they are growing uncontrollably. This means that the water in-between those cells tends to be packed more closely than you would expect to see.

Recall that for many tumors the doctor's primary means of detection is through feeling for lumps in your abdomen. While this sounds like science fiction, one way to think of DWI is as a much more sensitive lump detector. Something that is capable of seeing a mass deep inside your body when it is just the size of a pea.

The workhorse of advanced MRI is a sequence known as diffusion-weighed imaging (called "DWI"). This is a sequence that can only be performed on certain machines and, while it has been the subject of hundreds of academic papers, it has found little use in the real world, Our belief is that DWI is critical to detecting suspicious masses inside the body.

You may have heard the expression that the human body is 60% water. This is actually true (in fact for infants it is closer to 80%). Much of this water is not inside our cells, It is between the cells in our body.

DWI is a complex sequence (with some equally complex mathematics) that measures the extent to which this water is free to move around inside our bodies. Parts of the body where fluid is under pressure, such as the brain or the spinal cord show as dark patches on these images.

Solid masses (of which malignant tumors are one possibility) tend to be packed tightly together as they are growing uncontrollably. This means that the water in-between those cells tends to be packed more closely than you would expect to see.

Recall that for many tumors the doctor's primary means of detection is through feeling for lumps in your abdomen. While this sounds like science fiction, one way to think of DWI is as a much more sensitive lump detector. Something that is capable of seeing a mass deep inside your body when it is just the size of a pea.