Engineering and Physical Sciences in Medicine, Adelaide, 28 October 2018
I was delighted to convene this pre- conference workshop at the Royal Adelaide Hospital on behalf of the Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine.
A full capacity audience heard presentations from leading local MR professionals- all with the focus of encouraging collaboration and involvement by the medical physics community.
Dr Marc Agzarian (South Australian Medical Imaging and Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide) gave a radiology perspective on advanced diffusion methods in neuro-imaging. Outlining the limitations of the Diffusion Tensor approach for white matter tractography, he showed impressive case studies from his practice using Constrained Spherical Deconvolution (CSD). He emphasised the principles of data quality and the benefits of collaboration across disciplines.
Greg Brown (University of South Australia) reviewed his work as MR research radiographer and PhD candidate investigating tissue iron concentration measurement using T2* MR relaxometry. Also stressing the collaborative aspect, his talk showed how clinical science skills and statistical numeracy offer a major opportunity for the physics community, particularly as many off-the-shelf quantitative products are non optimised.
Associate Professor Donald McRobbie (University of Adelaide) gave an overview of the physics of MR safety. Starting with Maxwell’s equations, he showed how they underpin every aspect of the interactions of magnetic fields with tissue and implants, often exhibiting counter intuitive behaviours. He encouraged the community to step into the MR Safety Expert role and to begin a cross-professions dialogue.
Dr Victoria Sherwood (Siemens Healthineers, ANZ) gave a manufacturer’s perspective on current developments in neuro MR, highlighting three areas: simultaneous multi-slice (SMS), fingerprinting and quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM). SMS has the potential to reduce the scan time for high end research protocols, such as High Angular Resolution Diffusion Imaging, to clinically acceptable values with minimal SNR penalty. Fingerprinting uses a pseudo random RF pulse sequence and matches the signal patterns (the ‘fingerprints’) to a predefined dictionary of T1 and T2 values. QSM offers an improvement upon susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI).
A concluding panel discussion, chaired by Chris Boyd (South Australian Medical Imaging) saw the four presenters address a range of topics raised by the audience. Take home messages:
- medical physicists can perform important roles in MR safety, quantitation, facilitating advanced applications in the clinic, and education;
- the time is now;
- get involved locally.