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Sunday, May 19, 2024

The most powerful MRI machine took the first pictures of the brain

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The French Commission for Alternative Energy and Atomic Energy (CEA) has introduced the Iseult MRI machine, capable of generating a magnetic field of 11.7 Tesla (T). For comparison, classic MRI machines can generate from 1.5 to 3 Tesla.


In just four minutes, Iseult can display images of brain tissue up to 0.2 mm in size with slices 1 mm thick. This capability is equivalent to observing several thousand neurons. The images obtained with such a device enable doctors to examine the human brain in exquisite detail, providing ultra-high resolution. These images will assist doctors in gaining a deeper understanding of consciousness and in treating neurodegenerative diseases more effectively.

Iseult is significantly larger than other MRI machines, with dimensions reaching 5 meters in length and width. All its wires can be stretched over 182 kilometers, and the entire apparatus weighs 13 tons. This technology will also enable scientists to diagnose and treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s more effectively. Additionally, Iseult can detect chemical signals that conventional MRIs cannot.

The development will even aid in identifying glucose and glutamate molecules involved in brain metabolism. Altered production of these molecules may be associated with conditions such as gliomas and neurodegeneration. Moreover, Iseult will be capable of monitoring the distribution of lithium in the brain, which is used to treat bipolar disorders.

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