Technology Review: A Fuller Picture of Your Lungs

Led by Matthew Rosen, a visiting scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian center, and Ronald Walsworth, a senior lecturer in physics at Harvard, the researchers built an MRI scanner that images how gas flows through the lungs and how much oxygen is being absorbed throughout lung tissue. They’ve used the system to study how lung function differs when lying down and sitting or standing up, and are planning a study of asthma in conjunction with the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging in Boston. The system has not yet been used to compare healthy and diseased patients. If it proves its worth in clinical trials, the Harvard researchers believe it would be inexpensive and simple enough to be used in pulmonologists’ offices.

I would want one of these if I could use it. I think one of the neat parts is that the use pre-polarized gas to simplify the imaging. There are, iirc, a bunch of gases that can be pre-polarized and keep their polarization for interesting periods of time.

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