A new magnetic resonance (MR) imaging technique using hyperpolarized helium lights up the lungs airways, providing, for the first time, clear resolution of even the smaller, seventh-generation airways. The technique, dynamic hyperpolarized 3He (helium) MR imaging, should help physicians better understand and treat asthma, as well as other chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. Researchers from Brigham and Womens Hospital reported their findings in the May issue of the journal Radiology.
"Other non-radioactive techniques have only been able to image lung peripheries," said the studys principal investigator, Mitchell S. Albert, Ph.D., assistant professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School and director of the hyperpolarized noble gas MRI laboratory at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston. "Dynamic hyperpolarized helium MR imaging offers a completely noninvasive and safe method of studying the airways."
Dr. Albert collaborated with other researchers to pioneer hyperpolarized noble gas MR imaging, a technique he conceptualized in 1991 while researching the effect of anesthesia on the brain. "Our new technique provides information on ventilation, while depicting structure and function of the airways," Dr. Albert said. "Other non-radioactive imaging modalities do not provide this type of information."
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Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
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Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
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