Veterans Affairs

Functional magnetic resonance imaging software

Improved imaging for neuroscience research as well as potential applications in brain tumors and deep brain stimulation devices

Medical & Biotechnology

Research at the Department of Veterans Affairs has led to the development of a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) software package to enable better spatial resolution and magnetic susceptibility-related signal dropout and geometric distortion in standard echo-planar imaging based fMRI techniques. The patented technology is available via patent license agreement to companies that would make, use, or sell it commercially.

The most common method for non-invasively studying human brain function is a form of fMRI.

Currently, brain imaging is a screening method that helps the physician analyze the activity and functioning problems of the nervous system for the treatment of various types of neurodegenerative disorders. fMRI also provides anatomical and functional information about changes in blood flow to particular areas of the brain. Brain imaging is widely used in the diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s, as well as chronic diseases like brain cancer.

Advancing the state of the art, an fMRI software package to enable better spatial resolution and magnetic susceptibility-related signal dropout and geometric distortion in standard echoplanar imaging based fMRI techniques has been developed.

The technique known as stimulus-locked k-space shuffling for ultra-high-resolution large FOV fMRI, can be easily incorporated into existing MRI systems. It allows for improved imaging for neuroscience research and has potential applications in brain tumors treatment and in improving the effectiveness of deep brain stimulation devices.

A potential high impact application for this technology is in the deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrode placement for treatment of movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, and dystonia. The preoperative use of the proposed T2 fMRI technology would allow more accurate functional based selection of anatomic targets (i.e. distinguishing between leg versus arm sensitive sub-regions) while reducing the need for microelectrode recording, reducing risk of hemorrhage as well as operative time.

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