Journal Highlight: Magnetic resonance imaging of ionic currents in solution: The effect of magnetohydrodynamic flow

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  • Published: Nov 23, 2015
  • Author: spectroscopyNOW
  • Channels: MRI Spectroscopy
thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: Magnetic resonance imaging of ionic currents in solution: The effect of magnetohydrodynamic flow
The magnetohydrodynamic mechanism for ionic volume currents in a magnetic field, which predicts a slow evolution of signals, has been tested to help explain neural activity.

Magnetic resonance imaging of ionic currents in solution: The effect of magnetohydrodynamic flow

Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 2015, 74, 1145-1155
Mukund Balasubramanian, Robert V. Mulkern, William M. Wells, Padmavathi Sundaram and Darren B. Orbach

Abstract: Reliably detecting MRI signals in the brain that are more tightly coupled to neural activity than blood-oxygen-level-dependent fMRI signals could not only prove valuable for basic scientific research but could also enhance clinical applications such as epilepsy presurgical mapping. This endeavor will likely benefit from an improved understanding of the behavior of ionic currents, the mediators of neural activity, in the presence of the strong magnetic fields that are typical of modern-day MRI scanners. Of the various mechanisms that have been proposed to explain the behavior of ionic volume currents in a magnetic field, only one—magnetohydrodynamic flow—predicts a slow evolution of signals, on the order of a minute for normal saline in a typical MRI scanner. This prediction was tested by scanning a volume-current phantom containing normal saline with gradient-echo-planar imaging at 3 T. Greater signal changes were observed in the phase of the images than in the magnitude, with the changes evolving on the order of a minute. These results provide experimental support for the MHD flow hypothesis. Furthermore, MHD-driven cerebrospinal fluid flow could provide a novel fMRI contrast mechanism.

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