A noninvasive 7 Tesla MRI scanner at University of Southern California is the first 7T scanner to be used on a patient with Cushing's disease in the U.S., according to a USC news release.
When a brain tumor was found to be "MRI-negative" in a 28-year-old female patient, physicians at the USC's Pituitary Center were unsatisfied with the results. After deciding to use the Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute's (INI) new ultrahigh field 7 Tesla MRI scanner to localize the tumor, the patient was officially diagnosed with Cushing's disease and researchers were finally able to be see the tumor that would've otherwise appeared hidden in a standard MRI.
Cushing's disease is caused by a pituitary microadenoma, or very small tumor, which results in chronically elevated cortisol. Symptoms include weight gain, skin bruising and hair loss and if left untreated, the condition can be fatal. Because of this case, USC researchers believe the 7T scanner will be able to replace the standard, and invasive, method of clinical diagnosis, according to the news release.
“It’s clear that this is the beginning of a new frontier for ultrahigh field MR technologies,” said Arthur Toga, PhD, director of the INI, in a prepared statement. “The enhanced image quality opens many doors for neuroscientists in both research and clinical settings.”