New MRI Technique Sheds Technology’s Longtime Limits

NYU Langone Medical Center researchers have developed a new technology that builds upon magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and creates images resolved enough to enable consistent diagnoses across populations for the first time. 

The quality of an MRI image depends on equal exposure of atoms to magnetic fields, which not only vary scanner to scanner, but also in their interactions with different parts of even a single tissue sample.This has made it difficult, if not impossible, to compare one MRI with the next or even specific areas within a single MRI. 

“This marks the advent of ‘quantitative MRI,’ where new kinds of tissue maps become the gold standard for diagnoses and reveal disease patterns that are consistent from patient to patient,” says Sodickson, also lead investigator for the Center for Advanced Imaging Innovation and Research. “It will turn scanner design on its head.”

The new approach also promises to accomplish superior imaging with less expensive machines, a must in the face of the cost cutting underway in healthcare, the authors say. Faster, simpler approaches would also solve the problem of scanners that, elaborately equipped to correct for field variations, require meticulous calibration and lengthen exam time beyond what some patients can tolerate.

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Along with Cloos and Sodickson, authors of the new study in the Department of Radiology at NYU Langone were Florian Knoll, Kai Tobias Block, Mary Bruno, and Graham C. Wiggins. Also making a key contribution was Tiejun Zhao of Siemens Medical Solutions. This work was supported in part by NIH grants R21 EB020096, R01 EB011551, and P41 EB017183. The Center for Advanced Imaging Innovation and Research is a National Biomedical Technology Resource Center supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB).

Raise your voice in support of expanding federal funding for life-saving medical research by joining the AAMC’s advocacy community.

Grid of Id

Using a mapping technology called diffusion spectrum magnetic resonance imaging, Harvard University researcher Van Wedeen and colleagues show that the human brain may be wired more like a street map – a grid of pathways – rather than the presumed spaghetti-like tangle of neuronal connections.

The work, part of the Human Connectome Project, shows sheets of parallel neural fibers running at 90 degrees to each other, much like woven fabric, each sheet arranged at right angles to others to form a three-dimensional grid.

The Monstrous Active Galaxy NGC 1275

Active galaxy NGC 1275 is the central, dominant member of the large and relatively nearby Perseus Cluster of Galaxies. Wild-looking at visible wavelengths, the active galaxy is also a prodigious source of x-rays and radio emission. NGC 1275 accretes matter as entire galaxies fall into it, ultimately feeding a supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s core.

The reddish structure surrounding the galaxy are filaments.These filaments are cool despite being surrounded by gas that is around 55 million degrees Celsius hot. They are suspended in a magnetic field which maintains their structure and demonstrates how energy from the central black hole is transferred to the surrounding gas.

Credit: NASA, ESA and Andy Fabian (University of Cambridge, UK)


Noninvasive Imaging Technology Shows Animal Guts

Science is inherently cool, but gross science is even better.

Using a combination of computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), scientists Kasper Hansen and Henrik Lauridsen of Aarhus University in Denmark were able to visualize the entire internal organ structures and vascular systems (aka “guts”) of a Burmese Python digesting a rat.

  • A Burmese Python was scanned before ingesting a rat
  • and then at 2, 16, 24, 32, 48, 72 and 132 hours afterwards.
  • The succession of images reveals
    a gradual disappearance of the rat’s body,
  • with an overall expansion of the snake’s intestine,
  • shrinking of the gallbladder
  • and a 25 percent increase in heart volume.


While no pythons were harmed in making this series of images,
the same cannot be said about rats. We might take a moment to think about how rats have made great sacrifices to bring our understanding of the biological sciences to where it is today.

Effects of Anesthesia on the Fetal Brain

Exposure to anesthesia during labor and delivery results in morphological changes in the developing fetal brain. Photo credit: Bradley Peterson, MD, Institute of the Developing Mind, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Recently recommended in F1000Prime, which identifies significant studies in biology and medicine based on recommendations from leadings scientists around the world, a study by researchers led by Bradley Peterson, MD of CHLA demonstrated significant effects of anesthesia used during labor and delivery on the developing fetal brain. Using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Peterson and his team found infants exposed to anesthesia had areas in the frontal and occipital lobes of the brain that were larger in size compared to those who had not been exposed. The size of these areas of the brain increased with longer durations of anesthetic exposure. The effects of these differences in morphology based on anesthesia exposure are yet to be determined.

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are developing an ultra-low-field magnetic resonance imaging system that could be low-power and lightweight enough for forward deployment on the battlefield and to field hospitals in the world’s poorest regions.  

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Imagine Erik Finding Out That You, His Young Daughter, Have Inherited His Powers

Originally posted by timestolaugh

“Slow down, Erik, what are you on about?” Charles frowned through the phone.

“Y/N has- she’s- she’s like me, Charles!” Erik sputtered. He had you in one arm, and you were squirming in an attempt to ‘do the magic’ again. You had always been very enchanted by your father when he did little magic tricks with his metallokinesis to entertain you, and you were only concerned with your joy of possessing ‘the magic’ as well.

“NO, Y/N, no, no no, we do not do that with those!” Erik said quickly, moving the silverware you had begun to float out of your sight. He pulled the phone back over to his ear to hear what Charles had to say about it. It didn’t quite matter if he had moved the dangerous utensils; you had found something else to play with.

“Just bring her to the mansion, I’ll run a few simple tests I do with the students, she’ll be fine, Erik.”

“Alright, alright, I’ll bring her up in the morning,” Erik sighed. He hung up the phone with a breath of relief, only to look down at you.

“Papa, look!” you giggled; his old, worn Magneto helmet rested loosely over your head. Memories around that helmet flooded his mind, both good and bad. He had tried to hurt in that headpiece. He had tried to kill, and he had wanted to keep that part of his past far away from you.

However, looking down at the innocence in your eyes, he felt a spark of hope. Maybe, where he had become a symbol of hate, you could be one of hope.

(For @silverwingedfox)

You’d stain your hands with
Blood so you could
Keep a hold of the sun
That always looks like it’s
Leaving you

(It’s day here but for you
I guess it’s twilight,
Can you see the moon?)

Why do you always look at
It with loathing? Is it because it
Reminds you of you?

“I wish I could understand you.”
As I said that, you looked as though you would shatter.
I’m sorry. The sun doesn’t know how to kind. If I
Was better than I am I’d have asked you
To explain.

If your gaze wasn’t so empty
Would you notice my hand
Reaching out for yours? (I wish you’d believe me
When I tell you I’m staying.)

We’re two sides of the same magnet, fused together
Yet kept apart;
We yearn for each other but we
Can never touch.

Is that why
You look up at the
Sky and say you want the sun, yet you’ll
Avert your eyes from it?
(If so, I’m the same.)

(Sometimes I get close to asking
What’s it like down your rabbit hole?
But I never do. I used to think it’s because
I was being considerate, but now I think
It’s mostly because I’m too scared to know
In case I let you know about mine.)

What a funny way to hold onto
Light; you tie it to your heart strings so
You can keep it
But you won’t look at it.
What a funny way to keep hold of
Was the sun in your eyes
that irritating that you’d look away
from it so it wouldn’t be blinding?

(Still, what can I say when I look at the moon the same?)

Interventional magnetic resonance imaging‑guided subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease: Patient selection

Surg Neurol Int 02-Aug-2016;7: Interventional magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) guided deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been shown to be effective.

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Apa Hubungan Antara Marshmallow, Barrack Obama, dan Hawa Nafsu?A Study in Self Control-3

Apa Yang  Terjadi di Otak Orang yang Disiplin?

           Bisakah perbedaan sifat orang disiplin vs tidak dijelaskan secara biologis?

           Suatu penelitian di Weill Cornell Medical College mencoba untuk “mengintip” apakah ada aktivitas otak yang membedakan antara orang-orang berdisiplin tinggi dan rendah. Mereka meneliti menggunakan mesin fMRI functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging), suatu mesin yang bisa menunjukkan aktivitas otak yang sedang bekerja saat melakukan sesuatu.

           Ternyata, orang yang berdisiplin tinggi dan rendah memiliki aktivitas otak yang berbeda pula.

           Otak adalah sebuah organ yang amat kompleks. Setiap lekukan dan tonjolan pada otak memiliki fungsi yang berbeda pula (dan susah banget ngafalinnya L –Curhat ). Seperti layaknya sebuah computer: software A berfungsi untuk menulis dokumen, software B berfungsi untuk antivirus, etc. Otak juga demikian, namun jauh lebih kompleks: bagian A berfungsi untuk mengatur pengelihatan, B untuk kemampuan berbicara, C untuk mengatur keinginan muntah, dsb.

           Nah, ada 2 bagian di otak yang sangat erat kaitannya dengan kedisiplinan seseorang: a. Si Jenong  dan b. Si Terselubung

Kenalan Yuk, Sama Si Jenong

           Nama keren di kedokterannya adalah Prefrontal Cortex. Dia ada di daerah jidat kita. Untuk kepraktisan, mari panggil dia “Si Jenong”. 

           Si Jenong ini berperan dalam melakukan berbagai software paling canggih yang ditawarkan otak manusia: mengambil keputusan, merencanakan masa depan, kreativitas dan lainnya. Dalam konteks kedisiplinan, ia pun berperan penting: ialah suara di dalam benak kita yang berkata, “Hayo, kok dari tadi nggak belajar-belajar yaa? Besok ujian lho” atau “Heh dari kemaren makan es doger melulu, gendut woy!” 

Hi…. Inilah, Si Terselubung!!

Nama aslinya adalah Ventral Striatum. Lokasinya sangat terselubung, tersembunyi di dalam berbagai lekukan dan belahan otak. Ayo panggil dia “Si Terselubung”

         Kebalikan dengan Si Jenong, Si Terselubung ini cinta banget sama kenikmatan dunia. Dialah yang membisikkan “Yailah, rokok sepuntung lagi nggak papa kali!” atau “What the h*ll, lo udah terlanjur main DoTA 8 jam! Emang kenapa kalo nambah 1 jam lagi?” 

Si Jenong VS Si Terselubung

While angels whisper holy things through Si Jenong, devils whisper naughty deeds through Si Terselubung. The constant battle never ends until we die!

           Oke, balik ke topik penelitian tadi.

           Dengan fMRI mereka, para peneliti dari Weill Cornell Medical College menemukan bahwa:

- Orang berdisiplin tinggi memiliki memiliki aktivitas prefrontal cortex (Si Jenong) yang jauh lebih aktif daripada orang berdisiplin rendah. Dan kebalikannya,

-Orang yang berdisiplin rendah memiliki aktivitas ventral striatum (Si Terselubung) yang jauh lebih aktif daripada orang yang berdispilin tinggi.

           Ternyata, aktivitas otak orang berdisiplin tinggi dan rendah berbeda bermakna. Bila kita mengintip otak Fiksiwan dan Fiksiwati dengan fMRI, aktivitas otak mereka pun berbeda.

Oh No ! Kalau Gitu, Orang Berdisiplin Rendah Nggak Akan Bisa Berkembang Dong? Kan Otaknya Aja Beda??

          Alhamdulillaah, that is the wrong conclusion.

          Lha Shor, kok gitu? Bukannya the whole point of you saying all those medical crap was that people with good discipline have better brains? Inti lo tadi sok keren ngomongin otak satu kan: bahwa orang-orang berdisiplin tinggi itu otaknya lebih bagus kan? Si Jenongnya lebih kompeten kan? Gitu kan maksud lo? *sewot*

          Nope, good friend, that is not what I meant

          Perhatikan fakta-fakta  berikut:

-  Walaupun otak Fiksiwan lebih dikuasai oleh Si Terselubung, Fiksiwan MASIH punya Si Jenong, tapi tidak pernah ia pakai.

- Otak itu selalu mengalami perubahan. Dia tidak seperti mata yang selalu bulat atau hidung yang selalu mancung (atau pesek, depending on the circumstances). Bahkan…

·Struktur otak bisa diubah, dengan cara melatihnya.

Cara Melawan Bisikan Si Terselubung…

Prinsip melatih otak = melatih otot. Mau melatih yang mana: Si Jenong atau Si Terselubung?

          Prinsip melatih otak itu seperti melatih otot.

-Bila kita rajin sit-up, maka otot perut terbentuk, asal dilakukan dengan konsisten.

-Bila kita rajin angkat dumbell, otot lengan akan terbentuk, asal konsisten.

Latihan otot harus dilakukan dengan tepat sasaran dan konsisten.

          Sama saja dengan melatih Si Jenong (untuk lebih kuat) dan Si Terselubung (untuk lebih menahan diri).

          Ambil contoh Fiksiwan.

Dalam resolusinya untuk berubah, ia menolak ajakan teman-teman bandelnya untuk bolos sekolah. Saat itu juga, terjadi berbagai reaksi kimia dan elektrik di dalam otaknya, yang menyebabkan terjadinya perubahan struktur otak dari Fiksiwan:

          Fiksiwan diajak bolos sekolah untuk nongkrong dengan teman segengnya–>Fiksiwan menolak (walaupun ia ingin)–> Ia berdisiplin–> Ia melatih fungsi Si Jenong dan menolak Si Terselubung–> Sedikit demi sedikit, Si Jenong akan semakin “berotot” dan Si Terselubung akan semakin “peyot”–>Di masa yang akan datang, Fiksiwan akan sedikit lebih mudah untuk menolak bolos lagi–> bila konsisten, maka otak Fiksiwan akan terlatih untuk tidak bolos sekolah.

           Ya, menjadi orang yang disiplin ternyata sesederhana itu. Sounds simple, but being simple doesn’t make it easy. Seperti halnya punya sixpack, melatih otak untuk menjadi otak yang lebih disiplin juga membutuhkan tenaga, waktu, dan strategi.

          Apa sajakah strategi yang dapat dilakukan untuk melatih kedisiplinan secara psikologis?

          (To Be Continued…)

Mercury Transit (Composite Image)

On May 9, 2016, Mercury passed directly between the sun and Earth. This event – which happens about 13 times each century – is called a transit. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, studies the sun 24/7 and captured the entire seven-and-a-half-hour event. This composite image of Mercury’s journey across the sun was created with visible-light images from the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager on SDO.