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Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s: what is this new MRI described as “the most powerful in the world”, which could make it possible to better diagnose them?

  • April 2, 2024
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The first images of themagnetic resonance imaging (MRI) presented as “the most powerful in the world” were unveiled this Tuesday, April 2 by the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). The fruit of more than twenty years of research, this device, called MRI Isolde, has a magnetic field of 11.7 Tesla (the unit of measurement for the power of a magnetic field), compared to a magnetic field of 1.5 or 3 Tesla found in MRIs installed in hospitals. Ultimately, this device could help better diagnose and manage neurodegenerative diseases such as d’Alzheimer or de Parkinson”. In addition, it will pave the way for new research on the brain.

MRI Iseult: a level of resolution never before achieved

After more than twenty years of research, monopolizing nearly 200 people, including specialists from Alstom, Siemens Healthineers, Guerbet and the University of Freiburg in Germany, the images from the Iseult MRI were revealed. Carried out on volunteers, this first protocol offers the first images of axial sections of the human brain. For an image taken over a period of 4 minutes, with a magnetic field of 11.7 Tesla, the level of detail is greater than that of machines present in hospitals whose magnetic field is 3 Tesla or even that of 7 Tesla, however still rare, because there are three of them throughout the country.

“A 3T, a ‘grainy’ cloud prevents the anatomical structures of the brain from being clearly delineated. HAS 7Twhen we zoom in, the level of detail at this resolution is reduced, notes the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in a press release. On the other hand, “at 11.7 Tesla, the Iseult MRI, the only one currently operating in the world at this intensity, provides a reservoir of signals and contrasts between biological tissues which allows a more detailed exploration of the human brain”, can we read in the press release. For images of this quality, several hours of exposure would be required using a 3T MRI. A result qualified as“major breakthrough”et “immense hope for the study of our health” par Emmanuel Macron on the social network (ex Twitter).

MRI Iseult: towards better diagnosis and management of neurodegenerative diseases?

According to the researchers, this level of resolution could in the future allow “to access previously unattainable information on neurons, and to understand how our brain encodes our mental representations, our learning or even to discover what are the neuronal signatures of the state of consciousness”.

Indeed, if research still needs to be carried out to “to develop and improve our acquisition methods and guarantee data of the best possible quality”, Nicolas Boulant, head of the Iseult project and research director at the CEA, estimates in a press release that by 2026-2030, this device should make it possible to study certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.

Indeed, among the applications presented, we find research around bipolar disorders and more specifically the way in which lithium is distributed in the brain. In addition, it could make it possible to detect signals of “small molecules actively involved in brain metabolism, such as glucose and glutamate”. Finally, this level of precision would allow“establish better diagnosis and better management of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases”.

#Brain🧠| World first: the brain revealed like never before thanks to the most powerful MRI in the world designed and developed at the CEA!
🤩Discover the first brain images obtained with the Iseult MRI scanner, equipped with an unrivaled magnetic field of 11.7 Tesla👉https://t.co/h0Tpps7Jcy pic.twitter.com/SuuHyG4GqT

— CEA (@CEA_Officiel) April 2, 2024

Source :

  • World first: the brain revealed like never before thanks to the most powerful MRI in the world – Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) press release
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Louis Tardy