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A Close Look Into the Brain

Powerful hybrid device: 9.4-T MR-PET

Insight into the human brain – completely without anaesthesia and scalpel, but more detailed than ever before: at the Jülich Institute of Neurosciences and Medicine, an internationally unique device began operation in 2009 to aid the development of new techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of neurological brain diseases.

9.4 Tesla MR-PET

An MRI machine with a magnetic field strength of 9.4 tesla, six times higher than standard and 190,000 times greater than the magnetic field of the Earth, has been combined with positron emission tomography (PET) to deliver images of the human brain with previously unobtainable precision.

Combination of MRI and PET

It is the combination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET), merged in this so far unique device, which opens up new perspectives for researchers. The MRI technique simulates the tissue of the brain, while the simultaneous PET analysis makes the metabolism in the cells visible by means of a very weak radioactive substance. Both techniques (MRI and PET) are combined under the field strength of 9.4T.

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Better Diagnostic Opportunities

It is anticipated that, in the future, the simultaneous measurement of brain structures and metabolic processes will open up new opportunities for exploring neurodegenerative diseases such as epilepsy, stroke, Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis. With the combined use of MRI and PET, researchers will be able to locate diseased tissue and disturbances in the metabolism in the brain precisely down to the millimetre. This will result in more accurate and individualised treatment planning.

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Translational Research: TransFOR

The 9.4-T MR-PET completes the Jülich research platform "TransFOR" in terms of imaging techniques in brain research. In this context, Jülich researchers and their cooperation partners in education and health research are provided with a whole range of devices, which serve basic research or are already being used for clinical applications.

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