Crystal clear: Sodium MRI could lead to improved kidney imaging

British scientists are developing a new type of MRI that utilizes sodium as a biomarker within the body to enhance image quality and better diagnose kidney health.

University of Nottingham researchers working in collaboration with the Centre for Kidney Research and Innovation in the United Kingdom plan to use ultra-high magnetic field scanners in a process that will employ MRI coils for sodium imaging as receivers of radio-frequency signals in the MRI scan, which will be tuned to the specific frequency of sodium ions.

“The kidney is an ideal target for our project because it is important in the regulation of sodium in the body,” said study researcher Susan Francis, MD, of the university’s Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, in a press release. “If we can image how sodium is distributed in the kidney and how that differs in a diseased kidney, the impact on the diagnosis and treatment of kidney injury or disease is potentially great.”

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