New upgrade of Siemens Prisma Fit MR expands 'research capabilities of most investigators' at Pennsylvania State University

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | January 07, 2015
Courtesy of SLEIC
Pennsylvania State University recently upgraded its 3T Siemens Prisma Fit MR scanner and claims that it will now have "one of the most technologically advanced scanners in the country."

This is the first upgrade since the scanner was installed eight years ago.

"Speed is really an issue because it influences your sampling rate, and the Prisma Fit expands the research capabilities of most investigators just by acquiring detailed images faster," Michele Diaz, director of human imaging and associate professor of psychology, said in a statement.

The upgrade involves new software and hardware including improved gradients. The improvements allow it to acquire an image much faster, which greatly reduces noise and provides a clearer, more detailed image.

The pre-upgrade scanner forced researchers to spend as much as an hour capturing images of thin slices of the brain. Now the same scan can be done in half the time.

The scanner is located in the Social, Life and Engineering Sciences Imaging Center (SLEIC) at the university. Most of the research done there involves the brain but since it's a whole-body scanner for both humans and animals, many other faculty members can use it to study physiology and behavior.

Neuroscientists hope to use the machine to determine the areas of the brain activated by smoking tobacco, for example, in hopes of developing interventions to help smokers quit.

Behavioral scientists plan to use the machine to focus on how the brain learns and understands language, with an emphasis on those who are bilingual.

And kinesiology researchers hope the machine will help them study neural pathways involved in movement. "We have faculty members who are excited about the possibilities the new scanner presents and eager to continue doing great research," Kristina Neely, assistant professor of kinesiology said in a statement.

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