AU and East Alabama Medical Center partner to bring state of art MRI

By Katherine Kington - email | Twitter

Auburn, AL  (WTVM) - Auburn University and the East Alabama Medical Center have partnered to provide the most powerful magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to residents.

The unit, a 3-Tesla, is the most powerful MRI that is currently cleared for clinical use on humans.

MRI's were once described as "grainy" images making tendons and ligaments difficult to see. Jason Hoover, a radiologist with EAMC, says, "the 3-T allows you to see finer detail and still not get that modeled effect when you're looking at a tear, especially in athletes."

With this higher definition, it's not just tendons doctors observe; soft tissues and nerves are now much more visible with the new MRI being shared by Auburn University and EAMC.

"The medical standard here is very good and this is only going to add that and help us to keep people home and not go get that 2nd opinion."

The technology and partnership has been a few years in the making. East Alabama Medical Center uses the MRI weekdays during office hours for patient use and at night and weekends Auburn faculty and graduate students use the 3-Tesla to further medical research.

"We sort of focus on 3 key areas in terms of our research here on the MRI. One is cardiovascular how the heart functions, pumps blood." Says Tom Denny, Director of Auburn's MRI Research Center.

The other two areas of interest for research are technology development and Cognitive Neuroscience, studying the brain and its functions.

Denny says, "It can help faculty, campus, bring their research to a whole new level and these faculties not everyone has them so this can have people write research grants."

In August the MRI Research Center will get a 7-Tesla MRI that will be used solely for research. The picture quality and price tag are so high there are only 30 in the world.

©2010 WTVM. All rights reserved.