A team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals have been experimenting with a new MRI acquisition method, one that can enable faster MRI scans. Making scans is a very lengthy process. Images are produced depending upon different characteristics of tissues, after a number of parameters are precisely set to generate a radiofrequency pulse that causes protons to spin, which generates echos which are then captured to make the signal that is translated in to images. Specific scanning sequences are required, and they usually last several minutes. Researchers used chaotic sequence of semi-random pulses, resulting in a signal that has more information than a conventional MR signal, what that means is that it captures multiple scans at once. These combinations of signals make up a unique ‘fingerprint’ which depends upon the type of tissue imaged.
Their demostration shows differentiation between gray and white matter as well as cerebrospinal fluid. Theoretically speaking, many more tissues can also be imaged. The best thing about this technique is that it requires no new hardware. In theory, it can be applied to current MRI scanners through a simple software update. MRI fingerprinting will bring down scan times by a big margin.