Is inhaling magnetized gas doable for pulmonary patients?

Research is underway to magnetize gas that patients can inhale as an MR signal source. The goal is to obtain highly precise imaging of lungs troubled with asthma, COPD or other disease.  

Word of the preclinical science comes from Michigan State University, where Jaideep Singh, PhD, is experimenting in the institution’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory with xenon and helium.

“Of the two, xenon would be the gas of choice,” Michigan State reports. “It is naturally occurring, thus less expensive, and is more easily absorbed into the bloodstream, which offers potential uses for other MRI imaging of the body, particularly the brain.

“Unfortunately,” Singh adds, “it is much easier to magnetize helium than xenon.”

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