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New wearable, stretchable fabric may make MRI, other medical imaging tests comfortable for patients

Medical imaging tests are uncomfortable as they often use rigid radio-frequency (RF) coils to detect signals, or sound, from the body.

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Last Updated: Feb 26, 2020, 05.01 PM IST
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Scientists have created an adaptable, wearable and stretchable fabric embroidered with conductive threads that provides excellent signal-to-noise ratio for enhanced MRI scanning. (Representative image)
WASHINGTON: Scientists have used technology employed in the defense and aerospace industries to create an adaptable, wearable and stretchable fabric that may make MRI, and other medical imaging tests easier on patients.

One reason medical imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are uncomfortable is that they often use rigid radio-frequency (RF) coils to detect signals, or sound, from the body, the researchers said.

"Imagine going for an imaging session and they strap on a comfortable fabric with the coils embedded inside," said Joseph Rispoli, an assistant professor at Purdue University in the US.

"We created an adaptable, wearable and stretchable fabric embroidered with conductive threads that provides excellent signal-to-noise ratio for enhanced MRI scanning," Rispoli said.

Current approaches to enhancing signal-to-noise ratio, known as SNR, include shaping receive coil arrays to encompass a generalised form of the body part of interest.

However, these are often rigid and require the patient be posed in a specific way, the researchers said.

The new flexible and stretchable coil, described in the journal IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, could be placed close to the skin on an area or joint, regardless of its positioning.

The thread technology used in the innovation is similar to that found in applications for the aerospace and defense industries, according to the researchers.

Rispoli said the technology is also applicable to breast MRI and to enhancing medical device communication using wearable or implantable antennas.

"Our preliminary results show a full-scale device will be superior in all aspects of diagnostic testing, including increased sensitivity and fewer false positives," Rispoli added.

The researchers said they are working to patent the technology.

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CES 2020 is under way in Las Vegas and has been grabbing a lot of attention, thanks to the innovative pieces of tech that have been introduced at the megaevent. From an AI human bot, 8K TV to rolling robots and flying cars, CES has become a hotbed of tech innovation.However, amongst all the technology that has been featured at the event, there’s only a select few that makes our lives easier. We have compiled a list of all the nifty gadgets introduced at CES that may be small and compact, yet make a huge contribution towards making our lives convenient.
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