​New devices advance development of China's brain imaging

Updated: 2020-12-09



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The world's first nuclear magnetic compatible brain PET. [Photo/WeChat account: hefeigaoxinfabu]

The world's first nuclear magnetic compatible brain PET (positron emission tomography) scanner and a new-generation intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) system were launched in Hefei, capital of Anhui province, on Dec 4.

The two new devices are believed to be breakthroughs in the development of high-end medical equipment for brain imaging in China and are expected to bring China-made equipment to an international-leading level, according to a press conference on achievements in life, health, and brain sciences in Hefei National High-tech Industry Development Zone.

The new PET device is able to detect and prevent Alzheimer's disease five to 10 years in advance, said Zhang Gong, head of the Sino Canada Health Engineering Research Institute in the zone, which developed the device.

Compared to the whole-body PET, which is also used to detect Alzheimer's, the new device can provide a clearer image of the brain through both PET and MRI scans and is more sensitive, accurate, efficient and cost-effective (one fifth the cost of the former), according to Zhang.

The iMRI system has the potential to increase the brain tumor resection rate and postoperative survival time by 30 and 55 percent respectively, shortening the average operation time by nearly two hours, said John Saunders, a Canadian scientist.

The system uses world-leading technologies and was developed by a research team led by Saunders and Zhang. It will be a major asset when performing craniotomies, a form of surgery used to treat brain tumors, epilepsy, and strokes, as well as implant electrodes.


A new-generation intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging system. [Photo/WeChat account: hefeigaoxinfabu]