Recently, researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), headquartered in Bethesda, Md, obtained a new device to diagnose and address traumatic injuries (TBIs) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The NIH reports that it has begun to utilize a whole-body scanner, called a Biograph mMR. The new device has the ability to perform positron emission topography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) simultaneously.
The device’s purchase was made possible by the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (CNRM), also located in Bethesda, a Department of Defense-funded collaboration between the NIH and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
Davide Bluemke, MD, PhD, director of NIH Clinical Center Radiology and Imaging Services, elaborates on the scanner and says, “ [It] combines the two most powerful imaging tools. The MRI points us to abnormalities in the body, and the PET tells us the metabolic activity of that abnormality, be it a damaged part of the brain or a tumor. This will be a major change for many patients.”
The FDA approved the Biograph mMR for treatment in June. The device reportedly provides more succinct information on metabolic activity than the MRI and PET provide, respectably. Bluemke says that the faster turn around time and more comprehensive results will assist in diagnosing patients at an earlier stage of their disease. According to the NIH, the Biograph mMR also uses less radiation than the MRI and PET.
The Biograph mMR will also be used to study other patient populations, including those with cancer, brain disorders, and heart disease.