The FDA Has Approved USC’s High-Resolution Brain Scanner For Clinical Use

In a recently shared article, the University of Southern California has announced that the United States Food and Drug Administration has approved a high-tech brain scanner at the Keck School of Medicine for clinical use. This will make the high-resolution scanner available to people using it in clinics, as well as researchers, which could help people with neurological conditions.

About the Brain Scanner

The cutting-edge scanner, called the ultra-high-field 7T Terra magnetic resonance imaging scanner, was installed in 2017. It was the first scanner of it’s kind in North America, and researchers have been using it to study the brain. You can read more about it here.

The Benefits

A key advantage of the scanner is its high resolution. MRI scanners have different magnetic field strengths, measured in tesla (T), which affect the quality of the image. In typical 1.5T scanners, the resolution is 100,000 brain cells per cubic unit of the image. In comparison, the new 7T scanner only shows a few thousand cells in the same area, meaning that the image is more detailed.

This superior image quality can provide significant benefits, as can be seen in the case of a patient with Cushing’s disease who underwent a scan with the new machine. The scientists found a very small pituitary tumour, which wouldn’t have been visible on 1.5T or even 3T MRI machine.

Making this technology available to clinical patients could help people with a range of conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other diseases that affect the brain. The ultra-high-field 7T Terra MRI scanner at USC was approved for clinical use on the 24th October, following hardware and software updates.


Anna Hewitt

Anna Hewitt

Anna is from Cambridge, England and recently finished her undergraduate degree, where she specialised in Biological Anthropology. She has an interest in medicine and enjoys writing. In her spare time she likes to cook, hike, and hang out with cats.

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