Purdue Startup Aims to Increase MRI Efficiency

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The tiny device can be inserted into existing MRI machines. (photo courtesy Purdue University) The tiny device can be inserted into existing MRI machines. (photo courtesy Purdue University)

A Purdue University-affiliated startup is developing a tool to allow medical professionals more effectively conduct MRI scans. MR-Link LLC's device, which is about the size of a quarter, would allow for multiple imaging scans at once while recording electro-physiological signals from patients.

The university says the device will help researchers more effectively and efficiently understand a patient's physiology. MR-Link was founded by Purdue graduate students Ranajay Mandal and Nishant Barbaria, along with Zhongming Liu, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, as well as biomedical engineering, at Purdue.

"The goal of our company is to provide a tool which can help researchers and doctors better understand the different physiologies of the human body," said Mandal. "What we’ve developed is a very small, coin-sized device that can be safely used in an MRI system to enable all other imaging technologies. The device is very powerful and allows researchers to record, stimulate and image the brain or other organs all through the MRI system. This way the patient can be monitored for more than one thing at a time and the doctor can obtain much more information all at once."

Mandal says the device has the potential to improve the safety, efficacy and precision of medical diagnostics for patients with epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, depression, and other diseases. The founders add the device, which is expected to cost a "few thousand dollars," is not only more affordable compared to other technologies, but also could eliminate health risks while providing better imaging.

"MRI’s have enough magnetic force to lift 10 cars into the air, so the less magnetic field you bring into the environment, the safer it will be for both clinicians and patients," said Liu. "Our device could completely eliminate the health risks from magnetic fields and give a more accurate signal quality. The device is wireless and directly powered and operated by the MRI. It can target specific regions that would provide a much better quality in neural recording and stimulation during MRI imaging."

MR-Link says it has developed its first working device and is now seeking funding and beta testers in order to move forward. You can learn more about the company and its technology in the video below:

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