Promises and pitfalls of ultra-high field spinal cord MRI
Conditions affecting spinal cord function, such as degenerative cervical myelopathy, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis, have a profound impact on quality of life. Accurate depiction of spinal cord anatomy, microstructure and neuronal activity is crucial to gain better understanding of disease processes, enable early and accurate diagnosis, and evaluate treatment responses. Ultra-high field MRI provides an exciting opportunity to obtain imaging with unprecedented resolution and contrast. Spinal cord MRI at ultra-high field is however also particularly challenging from a technical perspective, due to the anatomical and physiological environment. Among the key challenges are susceptibility-induced static and dynamic magnetic field variations, resulting in image artefacts and confounding quantitative analyses. In this talk I will cover major challenges, as well as potential uses, of ultra-high field spinal cord MRI.
Discussion points of the webinar:
Johanna Vannesjö, Associate Professor
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
My research focuses on the dual themes of field fidelity and spinal cord MRI, as the latter depends strongly on the former. I take a particular interest in characterizing and improving the spatial and the temporal characteristics of the magnetic fields that perform the spatial encoding of signal in MRI. This includes gradient system characterization, dynamic shimming to tackle B0 field inhomogeneity and retrospective/prospective methods for addressing physiological B0 field fluctuations. The goal is to develop methods for improved field fidelity that are adapted to the specific conditions of spinal cord MRI, in order to obtain robust, high-resolution, high-quality, structural and functional images of the spinal cord.