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Alexander Prodromos Gilbert

Improved Contrast in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for More Accurate Medical Diagnoses

McLean, VA
Freshman at MIT


Improved Contrast in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for More Accurate Medical Diagnoses

Alexander’s research has provided two significant improvements on MRIs. The first, titled “A Quantitative T2 MRI Mapping at 1.5 Tesla”, involves a new computer algorithm that improves image contrast. The program processes signals from several MRI scans and, using an exponential decay function, it calculates unique signal intensity for each point of the area of interest. It then uses that value as input to the image visualization software program. The MRI images showed significant improvements in contrast. This new program has been successfully applied to brain MRIs, enabling more accurate image definition of tissues, such as areas of demyelination, or plaques, which are often present in patients with multiple sclerosis. The work is pertinent to MRIs of the spine and other areas, and offers the potential for better diagnosis and monitoring of multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. The next improvement, “Gallocyanine Chrome Alum Complex – A Novel Histochemical MRI Contrast Agent”, seeks to enhance mechanistic understanding of neurological diseases. It reports for the first time that gallocyanine chrome alum complex, a blue stain that binds to nucleic acids, is also an effective MRI contrast agent. This stain targets areas of the brain rich in nucleic acids (gray matter), increases MRI image contrast between gray matter and surrounding areas, and reveals fine structural details not seen in unstained tissue images. The MRI images showed differentiation and improved contrast. This novel stain targets specific biopolymers while improving contrast in MRI scans. Combining bio-chemical with imaging information has potentially wide applicability in medical studies.


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