Foundation-Funded Research Update – A New MR Coil for Focused Ultrasound Brain Applications


An issue that limits precise visualization of the brain during focused ultrasound treatments—essential tremor and Parkinson’s tremor, for example—is that the coils that apply the focused ultrasound beam can interfere with the imaging coils within the MRI. Treating physicians could potentially gain faster and clearer view of the treatment area if this interference was reduced or eliminated.

To address this problem, the Foundation awarded Kim Butts Pauly, PhD, and her team at Stanford University funding for their project titled “Neuro Focused Ultrasound MR Coil Fabrication and Testing.”

The group of biomedical engineers set out to design and fabricate a coil system that could (1) optimize sensitivity at the focus of the transducer by residing on both sides of its focus, (2) maintain a low profile to allow as much transmission of ultrasound as possible, and (3) overcome graphite-induced dielectric artifact. Their new design produced a promising prototype that is ready for further proof-of-concept studies and commercialization.

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