Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging (MRSI) has developed as an extension of MRI, allowing for simultaneous detection of NMR spectra from a large number of voxels and has important applications in studying in vivo biochemistry and metabolic pathways in fundamental biomedical research. MRSI is also a valuable diagnostic tool and, among other applications, has been successfully used in studies of neurological diseases.

Here, at Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (BNAC), the spectroscopic data collected routinely during the MRI brain exams, is processed using a combination of in-house developed and commercial software. Advanced quantification methods (LCModel software) are used to determine the concentration ratios for the metabolites of interest. The additional information provided by the MRSI exams, is used in conjunction with information obtained using other techniques like atrophy, magnetization transfer, and diffusion imaging, allowing for an in-depth analysis of the brain.

The main drawback of the classical spectroscopic imaging techniques is the relatively long scan times. Even for very low spatial resolutions (large voxels), three dimensional MRSI acquisitions can take approximately 10 minutes. At BNAC, we are developing non-conventional, high-sensitivity spectroscopic imaging acquisition techniques. These techniques will allow us to significantly reduce the scan times for the MRSI exams or, within the same time, to obtain higher spatial resolutions.