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Program Information

The Desktop Magnet: Simulation/tutoral Software for MRI Education

D Gauntt

D Gauntt1*, (1) UAB Medical Center, Birmingham, AL

MO-F-134-1 Monday 4:30PM - 6:00PM Room: 134

Purpose: To effectively teach radiology residents the fundamental physics behind magnetic resonance imaging based on a semi-classical model of the photon.

Method: The Desktop Magnet is a Java application that comprises both a set of tutorials and a programming environment to simulate the running of custom written pulse protocols. The tutorials can mostly be presented in a single hour-long lecture that covers from the semi-classical model of the electron to spin-warp imaging. Alternately, the interested student may study them at leisure. The tutorials are interactive, allowing the student to adjust the parameters of the simulations.

Each year our first year residents take an introductory MR physics class; for the past two years, one lecture of this class is a presentation of the tutorials in lecture format.

As a test of the validity of the simulation kernel used, the program can display a prediction of the reconstructed MRI image using established analytic formulae for spin echo images, gradient echo images, and RF spoiled images.

Results: The reconstructed images from the simulated MR sequences qualitatively match the analytic predictions very well. Feedback from the residents on the utility of the lecture has been limited but positive.

Conclusion: By avoiding the use of a quantum mechanical formalism, and using accurate animated images to illustrate concepts, the Desktop Magnet is a potentially useful aid to teaching MRI at a level suitable for radiology .

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