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MR is elevating radiology and patient care

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Allen Song, PhD
Director of the Duke University Brain Imaging and Analysis Center and Professor of Radiology at Duke University, Durham, NC

MR is elevating radiology and patient care

Welcome to the 2019 Spring Edition of SIGNA™ Pulse of MR. As the inaugural Guest Editor, I am honored and excited to share some of my thoughts with you. I hope that you will enjoy reading the many clinical and technical advancements highlighted in this issue; several are made possible by the collective effort of GE Healthcare’s academic partners that further elevate radiology.
The past decade has truly been an exhilarating period with multiple advances converging, fueled by technological innovations. We’ve seen the extension of MR as a mostly diagnostic tool into the realm of therapy and preventive healthcare. Indeed, the field of MR, whether in the clinic or research center, has been technology driven. There is a constant thirst for higher field strengths, stronger gradient power, more RF channels and faster imaging speeds, leading to more efficient and precise ways of gathering knowledge. While these front-end innovations in image acquisition are continuing, there is a recent revolution in data sciences encompassing the full span of an MR workflow. With the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms, we may exact, analyze and share much richer and more detailed information than previously possible. For example, AI and ML embedded on the MR scanner may help enhance consistency in image acquisition and raise the probability for great results. Other advances may help increase the amount of information available to us for disease diagnosis and for guiding therapeutic interventions.
AI may also assist in our ability to detect diseases at an early stage when treatments may be most effective. Importantly, together AI and ML bring the latest technologies to all corners of the world.
Articles in this issue are partial reflections of this exciting evolution. On the expanding roles of MR, for example, we see how the development of an MR-only planning workflow at Skåne University Hospital, Sweden, is changing our way of performing radiation therapy; we see that the use of PET/MR at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is facilitating pediatric cancer staging and restaging; and we see that whole-body diffusion MR at PRIISM, EHP Kara in Algeria allows metastatic lesion detection. The never-ending technological innovations continue to remove traditional obstacles and open new avenues. For example, the integration of HyperSense acquisition for accelerated scanning and next-generation body navigators are making free-breathing MR a reality for body applications (see case study from Medipole de Savoie). The adoption of high-channel count arrays, increased gradient performance and fast imaging techniques now offer unprecedented and exquisite details of the human brain (see 48-channel Head Coil case study from RNR). The infusion of AI and deep learning algorithms are helping to automate workflow (see article on AIRx™ at Fairfax Radiological Consultants) and making the MR images more informative and accessible.
In addition to these developments at the forefront, it is worth noting that GE is also making a concerted effort to extend its cutting-edge technologies across the product portfolio, making them accessible to all. For example, the industry-first AIR Technology™ that has demonstrated its superiority on the top-of-the-line SIGNA™ Premier platform has been migrated to the SIGNA™ Architect platform (see articles featuring The Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital, Osaka University Hospital and Kawasaki Saiwai Hospital), thus benefiting a wider population.
Using somewhat fitting jargon, I feel that this issue is a "HyperSense" sampling of all the MR advances happening at GE, from which you can hopefully reconstruct and infer a more complete image of GE MR today. From high-power gradient systems, the transformative and comfortable AIR Technology™ Suite, innovative pulse sequences, to new applications in the brain and body; from disease diagnosis, to therapy and monitoring patients with chronic disease; from leading MR centers to rural corners of the world, GE MR is bringing great things to, and elevating the quality of, life.
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Allen Song, PhD
Director of the Duke University Brain Imaging and Analysis Center and Professor of Radiology at Duke University, Durham, NC