The Spectroscopist’s Lament
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- diffusion magnetic resonance imaging
- echoplanar imaging
- magnetic resonance spectroscopy
See related article, p 2962.
I can’t change the laws of physics!” Inflected with the appropriate Scottish brogue, this quote brings to mind a character from a well-known classic science fiction television series. However, Scotty’s lament might be that of the clinical MR spectroscopist as well, for there are few areas in medical diagnostic imaging in which the immutable laws of physics pose such direct constraints. In selecting an in vivo spectroscopy protocol, spectral quality (as measured by signal to-noise ratio), spatial resolution, spatial coverage, examination time, and the minimum time to obtain a spectroscopic imaging series are inextricably entwined. Optimization of one parameter necessitates a compromise elsewhere. For instance, improvement of the spatial resolution of a MR spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) series can be achieved, but at the expense of a longer acquisition time and/or reduced signal to-noise resolution of the spectra. The laws of physics will not have it otherwise.
Although the first in vivo 1H spectrum from the brain of a patient poststroke was reported almost 25 years ago,1 followed a few years later by 1H spectroscopic imaging in one2 and 23 dimensions, the difficulty of obtaining good quality MRSI from patients after stroke, especially in the acute phase, has been one of the factors limiting the more widespread application of MRSI to stroke. Elderly, sick, often confused patients …