22 Sep GE Healthcare helps UIC probe human thoughts
The University of Illinois at Chicago, with the assistance of GE Healthcare in Milwaukee, has built the world’s most powerful magnetic resonance imaging scanner, officials announced Tuesday.
The MRI, which is used to study internal anatomy and brain functions in a non-invasive way, incorporates a 9.4-tesla magnet. A tesla is a unit of magnetic strength. The magnet used in the university’s new MRI is almost 200,000 times the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field.
While not the strongest magnet ever built — fields as strong as 25 teslas have been produced — this is the strongest that has been used in an MRI, officials said.
“GE’s magnet is introducing a whole new dimension to imaging by enabling researchers to better understand how the human brain thinks, learns, fights disease and responds to experimental therapies,” said Keith Thulborn, director of the UIC Center for Magnetic Resonance Research.
He predicted the device would make UIC an international center for brain research.
MRIs operate by surrounding patients or test subjects with a circular magnet and creating a magnetic field that aligns atoms in the body, then measuring the effect of radio-wave pulses to make an image of the inside of the body.
Thulborn said he would use the device in his research on brain afflictions such as strokes and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as cognitive learning disorders.