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Getting Rid of Annoying MRI Acoustics With Music

Researchers at Case Western University are turning the noisy and distressing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine acoustics into a lulling music box that plays Yo Yo Ma.

MRI’s continuous switching patterns create jolting vibrations, which cause anxiety, annoyance, and even hearing loss for patients inside of the machine. Instead of attempting to mask the sounds, the group of researches invented Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting (MRF), a method that converts mp3 music files to arbitrary encoding gradients.

For their phantom study published recent in Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, the researchers used Yo Yo Ma’s version of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Cello Suite No. 1.” The audio waveforms is systemized through a conventional audio compression that processes the waveform into a band of amplitudes. In order to be congruent with MRI hardware, “the music was then low pass filtered to 4 kHz to remove the high frequency oscillations that cannot be replicated by an MR gradient hardware.” Afterwards, the song is “resampled to 100 kHz to match the gradient raster time of the gradient amplifiers,” write the scientists.

The musical MRI could become a much-needed antidote to the ear-wrenching sounds of MRI. Have a look at the video of the musical gradients in action, all the while keeping in mind that the machine is still producing viable, clinical images: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=172&v=VYAvxe9X3s0

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