MOSCOW, February 15. /TASS/. Researchers from Skoltech, MIT and Harvard have developed a novel numerical method for modeling interactions between electromagnetic fields and biological tissue, Skoltech said in a press release.
A vast array of medical technology relies on sophisticated control of electromagnetic and acoustic fields in human tissue, such as imaging modalities (e.g. magnetic resonance and ultrasound), treatment modalities (e.g. deep brain stimulation and localized hyperthermia), and wireless implantable devices (e.g. neurostimulators and pacemakers).
The combined market for these technologies is growing rapidly, and that growth is driven primarily by market-expanding design innovations that either dramatically reduce cost or add substantial functionality. Field distribution in highly inhomogeneous human tissue plays a central role in the performance of many of these technologies.
Yet it is stunning that given the huge market, the pace of technological innovation, and the human cost of flaws, such field distribution in highly inhomogeneous human tissue is still being analyzed using tools developed for calculating signal and wave propagation in metal boxes and printed circuit boards. Relying on such tools, which can be both slow and inaccurate, inhibits design exploration and rules out point-of-care patient-specific optimization.
Now there is, however, an alternative, as demonstrated in a recent joint project between Skoltech, MIT and Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital on optimizing field patterns to minimize tissue heating during magnetic resonance imaging.
"Specifically the team developed a specialized volume-integral equation method combined with a matrix compression scheme, leading to a magnetic resonance field analysis tool that is both more accurate and orders of magnitude faster than those widely-used re-purposed general tools mentioned above. The kind of speed this method is offering will be paradigm-shifting for both magnetic resonance designers and for imaging specialists, since it will not only enable far more aggressive design exploration, but also it will enable patient-specific field optimization and in-situ safety verification", Skoltech said.
The results were published in IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.