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Fractal Discovery Could Quadruple the Speed of MRI

Researchers from the University of Queensland are using fractals to accelerate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, which would make them less expensive to process.

In a study recently published in IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, Shekhar Chandra, PhD, a lecturer at the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, has identified a new mathematical pattern, or fractals, which could increase the MRI processing time by four-fold. According to Dr. Chandra, this is the biggest fractal discovery since the 1970s, and the first time the science is being used in MRI technology.

A fractal is an infinite pattern that duplicates itself in different scales. The MRI is able to use it to capture only critical data in the image and disregard any irrelevant information. This technique will speed up MRI procedures and allow for more patients to go in for imaging exams in a given day.

“We’ve demonstrated that we can use the repetitive property of the pattern to our advantage to reduce the measurements required for an MRI scan,” Dr. Chandra said. “I believe we can be more intelligent in the way we collect our measurements and data to greatly improve patient outcomes.”

Although this discovery could significantly improve MRI practices, “more work and more funding is needed before it can become a reality,” said Dr. Chandra.

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