Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS) on whole body MR scanners provide superb and extremely versatile tools to investigate human morphology, function and metabolism. MRS provides the only method to investigate the chemical composition of the human body non-invasively. MRS was delayed compared to MRI in its clinical impact, but higher field strengths (3T in the clinic and single 7T systems for research) are now available for MRS in humans, providing hardware that establishes a whole new basis for clinical MRS. Full exploitation of these technical ingredients will rely on dedicated research to enable detection and robust quantitation of metabolites that are of prime interest in the clinic and in neuroscience.
Overall Aims of this Project:
1) Data processing tools shall be developed to detect and quantify more brain metabolites than was possible before, in particular using dedicated multidimensional MR spectroscopy data arrays and extended simultanesous modelling of these datasets
2) Data acquisition methods shall be developed and tested that allow for easier detection of metabolite concentrations at high magnetic fields, including metabolites with exchangeable protons using MRS methods without suppression of the water signal.
H-MRS from previous work and mainly to be designed in this project.13 T and 7 T whole body MR systems (Siemens TIM TRIO, Philips Achieva), spectral simulation tools, data acquisition, processing and fitting schemes for quantitative clinical
Expected Value of the Proposed Project:
H-MRS in the clinical setting, as well as in dedicated neuroscience research performed with the highest field strengths currently available for humans in Switzerland. All main approaches, i.e. higher fields, MRS without water suppression, and data processing integrated with data acquisition, are expected to either enable non-invasive quantification of cerebral metabolites that had hitherto not been detectable in vivo, or - like in the case of GABA, glutamate, glutamine and GSH - to make them quantifiable simultaneously and in higher efficiency. We expect considerable impact on the potential of MRS for elucidation of the etiology of cerebral pathologies, for monitoring of treatment efficacy, but also in neuroscience research where neurotransmitter levels, in particular GABA, are connected more and more with psychiatric diseases, individuality and specific functional states. 1This proposal aims at substantially increasing the information content of
Overall, improved data acquisition techniques and intricately connected data processing methods, as well as extended means of quantitation and quality control are expected to extend the range of routinely quantifiable metabolites and, hence, the scope of clinical applications in diagnosis and clinical research.