MRI maps the development of the brain

Working in collaboration with colleagues in South Korea, scientists at Nottingham University (Nottingham, UK) aim to create a detailed picture of how the Asian brain develops, taking into account the differences and variations which occur from person to person.

MRI maps the development of the brain
MRI maps the development of the brain

Working in collaboration with colleagues in South Korea, scientists at Nottingham University (Nottingham, UK) aim to create a detailed picture of how the Asian brain develops, taking into account the differences and variations which occur from person to person.

The two-year project will marry the expertise of Nottingham academics in advanced brain imaging techniques, including ultra high field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), with the clinical expertise and specialist computer software development skills of researchers at Korea University (Seoul, Korea).

The project will see the Nottingham academics working with colleagues in the College of Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, and Psychology at Korea University, to scan the brains of healthy Asian adults using MRI techniques.

Data from the hundreds of images will then be analyzed and computer modeling techniques used to build up a detailed picture of how a normal Asian brain develops in adults, taking into account the slight variations that occur from person to person.

The resulting map of the brain could be used to help doctors in countries like South Korea, Japan and China develop new diagnostic tools for age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and dementia.

The work will also involve collaboration with academics at other UK and European institutions, including University College London, the Institute of Neurology, Institute of Psychiatry, Imperial College and the University of Aachen in Germany.

Interested in reading more about the uses of magnetic resonance imaging in medical applications? Here's a compendium of five top news stories on the subject that Vision Systems Design has published over the past six months.

1. Imaging technique detects brain cancer

University of Oxford (Oxford, UK) researchers have developed a contrast agent that recognizes and sticks to a molecule called VCAM-1 that is present in large amounts on blood vessels associated with cancer that has spread to the brain from other parts of the body.

2. Combining ultrasound and MRI helps visualize prostate cancer

Researchers at the University of Aberystwyth (Aberystwyth, UK) are aiming to develop a system that will enable doctors to improve the diagnosis of prostate cancer.

3. New MRI technique more accurately detects lung cancer

A new type of magnetic resonance-based diagnostic imaging can differentiate benign lung lesions from those that are cancerous more accurately than PET-CT scans.

4. Algorithm cuts down MRI scan time

The time taken to perform a magnetic-resonance-imaging (MRI) scan could be cut from 45 minutes down to just 15 minutes, thanks to a new algorithm developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge, MA, USA).

5. Imaging the brain predicts the pain

Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine (Stanford, CA, USA) have developed a computer-based system that can interpret functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) images of the brain to predict thermal pain.

-- Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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