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BIC Facilities

BIC Facilities for neuropsychoimaging

The Brain Imaging Center (BIC) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai offers access to state of the art research facilities for neuroimaging with neuropsychological testing. All scanners and testing facilities are located in a dedicated low-traffic research suite in the Hess Center for Science and Medicine on Madison Avenue. Neuroimaging studies are supported by consultation and supervision with faculty, staff and trainees expert in all aspects of translational imaging research. Highly skilled staff provide a full suite of support services for image acquisition, image analysis, scheduling and acquisition of experimental MR neuroimaging.

(For a review of the peripheral equipment at each facility, Click Here.)

3T Siemens MAGNETOM Skyra

The 3T Skyra MAGNETOM is an FDA approved 3 Tesla human MRI scanner. Its wide bore design (173cm system length with 70cm bore) can accommodate subjects with larger body compositions compared to the 60cm bore of typical clinical 1.5T or 3T MR scanners. A newly designed RF system and coil architecture integrates Siemens Tim 4G with all digital-in/digital-out technology. The scanner has an actively shielded water-cooled gradient system and zero helium boil-off. Onboard software is available for neurologic, angiographic, cardiac, body and oncological applications to support robust investigations of brain involvement across physiological systems.

MR/PET (3T) Siemens mMR (molecular MR).

The 3T MR/PET is a fully integrated and capable of simultaneous PET and MRI scanning. This allows more precisely co-registered functional and structural acquisitions while reducing the radiation dose of traditional PET imaging- by replacing CT x-ray scans with MRI imaging. True simultaneous acquisition of MR and PET data by the hybrid system merges the highly sensitive PET metabolic information with highly specific MR anatomical and functional information.

The integrated 3T MRI system is capable of routine as well as advanced imaging of all body regions. The PET scanner is fully integrated into the MR, utilizing state of the art solid-state technology for simultaneous PET imaging during MR image or spectrum acquisition. The 3T MR-PET is designed for neurological as well as oncological diagnostic imaging.

The highly integrated nature of these PET and MR systems provides the capability for full spatial and temporal correlation between modalities. The maximum gradient amplitude is approximately 40 mT/m per axis, with a maximum gradient slew rate of about 200 T/m/s per axis. The system’s magnet has an integrated cooling system and active shielding. The shimming capabilities include: Active (with 3 electric and 5 electric nonlinear linear shim channels) and Passive shims for maintaining very high homogeneity and excellent image quality over a wide range of applications. Online shimming is performed in less than 20 seconds to optimize homogeneity. The RF transmit and receive system include compact, air cooled tube RF amplifier providing 35 kW peak power, integrated electronics with cabinet water cooling and up to 32 receive channels. The PET system includes adaptation to a work environment within high magnetic fields including APD and LSO based detector technology, adaptation and optimization of numerous MR components to an integrated PET imaging unit, high-resolution, high-count rate, positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of metabolic and physiologic processes, high quality metabolic and anatomic image registration and fusion for optimal lesion detection and identification; state-of-the-art 3D PET data acquisition and analysis tools, and state-of-the-art 3D PET reconstruction, attenuation and scatter correction software. Specifications for PET include a spatial resolution of <6.5mm with timing resolution of < 4.5 ns, sensitivity of > 0.5%, axial FOV of > 19 cm and transaxial FOV up to 45 cm.

The system also supports MR and PET gated scan acquisition; support for list mode acquisition, offline histogramming and reconstruction; special calibration. Alignment and quality control sources including shielding; multimodality workplace; 3D iterative reconstruction.

7T Siemens MR scanner.

This is an ultrahigh field 7.0 Tesla actively shielded MRI scanner. The superconducting magnet is self-shielded, reducing its overall footprint and making it compact and lightweight by 7T standards, weighing 24-tons. The (warm) inner bore of the magnet is 82cm, which houses a  60cm inner patient bore. The dimensions of the magnet (without covers) are approximately 2.5m x 2.6m wide and 2.65m high. The 5-Gauss line extends slightly further than for a 3T scanner, with 5.6m radial and 7.8m axial dimensions. The system provides gradient amplitudes up to 70 mT/m per axis, and a maximum slew rate of up to 200 T/m/s. The RF transmit system comes with 8 parallel transmit channels; 8 individually shaped RF pulses can be prescribed simultaneously and independently in amplitude and phase. The multi-nuclei package allows imaging and spectroscopy at non-proton frequencies, i.e. detection of e.g. 19F, 31P, 7Li, 23Na, 13C, 17O. Our 7T/820AS is configured to accommodate an 8-channel Tx-array and 48-channel Rx receivers. Several coils are currently available, including a 1- channel Tx / 32-channel Rx head coil and an 8-channel Tx / 8-channel Rx head coil.

"Mock" MR Simulator by PSTNet.

The mock MRI simulator allows researchers to minimize scanner-time costs by helping acclimatize subjects to the ‘enclosed’ and loud MRI environment before they enter a real scanner. Such opportunity has been shown to be especially important for studies involving children. Audio recordings of actual scanner operations can be presented to familiarize and prepare subjects subsequent imaging. A padded sliding table with a head-holder and simulated head coil allows subjects to experience preparations and insertion into a realistic simulation of an operating MR scanner bore.  The mock MR simulator room also provides apparatus for stimulus presentation and response acquisition comparable to those used in the actual MR system, to allow familiarization and training on tasks ahead of actual scanning.

fMRI peripherals

The MRI scanners are equipped with the latest state of the art peripherals for functional imaging, including a mirror-viewed high resolution video screen, integrated eye-tracking, fiber optic subject response gloves, pneumatic computerized headphones with microphones and a full spectrum of physiological recording probes for ECG, GSR, pulse-oximetry, etc. There is also a specialized MRI compatible computerized olfacto-meter. MR-compatible gas anaesthesia and EEG systems will become available in 2015.

Neuro Testing room

A sound attenuated and independently temperature controlled neuro testing room located on the hallway near the 3T MRI can be reserved for physiological testing. The private room is equipped with a sink and areas for preparation and testing with EEG, ERP, Skin Conductance, cardio-respiratory and other modalities. This room is also equipped with large monitors for paradigm training and testing.

For your reference

BIC has prepared a comprehensive technical document to assist grant writers in summarizing key BIC MR hardware specifications, analysis parameters and key personnel to support neuroimaging. You can download a copy of the document here.


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