After more than a two-year wait and construction of its very own building, the
took delivery of and installed a 7 Tesla full-body MRI last month. It is the only one of its kind in northeast Ohio, and one of only about a dozen in the country.
While the 1.5 Tesla MRI is more common, and the Clinic even has several 3 Tesla MRIs, the 7 Tesla provides a better look, even down to the cellular level. “It has special resolution where we can actually see much finer detail than a 3 Tesla or 1.5 Tesla,” says Mark Lowe, director of high field MRI at the Clinic. “With this higher special resolution you can see things you’ve never seen before.”
The MRI will be used for neuroscience research into disorders such a multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s. The finer detail will allow researchers to see focal dysplasia in epilepsy patients, or greater vascular detail in angiography. The acquisition of the new machine created two new jobs, with the potential for more future jobs with grant funding.
“The bottom line is, for years MRI has been very good at imaging soft tissue contrast, but it’s not as good in spatial resolution,” says Lowe. “This provides that spatial resolution.”
It was no easy task to get the 40-ton machine to Cleveland. Lowe and his team secured funding for the $10.5 million endeavor two and a half years ago. It was scheduled for delivery in December. But a shortage of helium, which is used to cool the MRI magnet, caused further delays.
The 7 Tesla is housed in a specially constructed building next to the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis. The roof was lifted off the building to lower the MRI into place, which also comes with 350 miles of superconducting wire.
Source: Mark Lowe
Writer: Karin Connelly