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Powerful brain scanner could save lives

May 4, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A new, state-of-the-art machine could soon be saving the lives of patients with brain problems.The "Brain Bucket" is being touted as the most powerful brain scanner ever made.

The machine, which resembles a high-tech Trojan War helmet, has 96 metal coils that scan different areas of the brain and translate them into one image.

Traditional MRI machines have anywhere from 2 to 12 coils.

The images from the Brain Bucket can see all the way down to the very smallest blood vessels; details doctors say they would never get with a standard MRI.

"When you take a picture with a brain bucket it can look literally like you took the brain, sliced it up and were staring right at it before your eyes," said Dr. Bruce Rosen, who co-created the device. "It's like we went from a cell phone camera to a 10 megapixel digital camera."

The brain bucket can also capture the images 10 times faster than a regular MRI.

Doctors hope that the clearer pictures will help them better detect and treat disorders like brain tumors, dementia and multiple sclerosis.

The images have already successfully been used to treat epilepsy patients by helping doctors remove the abnormalities that cause seizures.

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