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Blog feature image – Graeme Bydder at the Magnetica booth ISMRM 2024.

ISMRM 2024: Connecting the World of Magnetic Resonance

Length: 9-minute read.

Quick summary: Experience the highlights of Magnetica’s participation at ISMRM 2024 at the SUNTEC Convention & Exhibition Centre in Singapore. Delve into our encounters with experts like Dr Graeme Bydder, discover this year’s theme, “Connecting the World of Magnetic Resonance”, and learn about industry perspectives on AI and MRI accessibility. This recap takes you behind the scenes with Team Magnetica at ISMRM 2024.

Celebrating Innovation and Community at ISMRM 2024

Celebrating Innovation and Community – blog banner featuring artwork by the ISMRM & ISMRT advertising their 2024 Annual Meeting & Exhibition event.

As part of our continuing efforts to support commercialising our prototype 3T Compact MR system for MSK extremity imaging, Magnetica exhibited at the ISMRM 2024 Annual Meeting and Exhibition in early May 2024.

The vibrant city of Singapore provided the setting for the conference at the Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre. This year’s event provided key insights into the future priorities for the MRI industry, with several themes paving the way.

Attendees at ISMRM 2024 are Members of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) and/or Members of the International Society for MR Radiographers & Technologists (ISMRT). The conference assembles a multidisciplinary community of clinicians, engineers, biochemists, radiographers, scientists, physicists, radiologists, and technologists from across the globe. Although spanning a broad range of vocations across research, academia and clinical applications, there is one common thread – all attendees are dedicated to advancing MR technologies and patient care.

The ISMRM annual meeting provides a unique opportunity for researchers to showcase their MR advancements and developments. At the same time, vendors gain exposure to researchers and academics whose projects can benefit from their technologies.

Montage of 3 images showing the venue for ISMRM 2024 – SUNTEC Convention & Exhibition Centre, Singapore.
Montage of 2 images showing Supertree Grove, Marina Bay Sands and Changi Airport in Singapore.

ISMRM 2024 and Accessible MRI

The theme for ISMRM 2024 was “Connecting the World of Magnetic Resonance,” highlighting the worldwide disparity regarding accessibility to MRI services. The key focus? Making MRI technology more accessible and affordable.

Prof. Andrew G. Webb, Ph. D.’s opening plenary, “Accessible MRI: No Surrender,” set a transformative tone for the conference. Noting that over 70% of the world cannot access MRI, Andrew underscored low-field MRI innovation as a critical pathway to democratising it. He emphasised that low-field MRI offers access to services where limitations mean that super-conducting magnets are not always feasible or practical.

Andrew Webb’s theme resonated throughout the event, highlighting the need to remove barriers and inequalities in medical imaging technology, particularly for developing countries and in restrictive clinical situations.

Many ISMRM 2024 attendees had also participated in the MRathon 2024 a few days earlier at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. That hackathon adopted a similar theme to ISMRM 2024; “Make Portable MRI Easy”.  Several invited mentors and speakers attended and presented at both back-to-back events, providing a solid continuation of the conversation. One of these presenters was Andrew. He also took time out of his busy schedule to visit the Magnetica booth and provide our team with additional insight into the topics he addressed in his plenary lecture.

Low-field MRI Takes Centre Stage at ISMRM 2024 in Singapore

Low-field MRI takes centre stage—the Magnetica team with low-field MRI expert Matthew Rosen during ISMRM 2024 in Singapore.

Contrasting recent years, where conversations emphasised high-field MRI technologies, we saw a significant swing in the opposite direction, as discussions about low-field innovations dominated.  We noted that both ends of the spectrum (high-field and low-field) provide solutions to different and unique clinical needs. Rather than the technologies competing head-to-head (no pun intended!), we witnessed how they can complement each other, addressing the complex needs of busy medical and research facilities and enhancing workflows.

The significance of low-field MRI advances became clear when ISMRT Fellow Matthew Rosen, Ph.D., visited the Magnetica booth. As an expert in and proponent of low-field MRI technologies, Matthew generously shared his thoughts with the team following his plenary lecture, “Low-Field & Deep Learning,” the previous day. 

Matthew’s facility, The Rosen Lab at Harvard Medical School, specialises in developing ultra-low magnetic field implementations of MRI focused on brain imaging. Many of their projects utilise the spectrometer components we produce at Tecmag to progress and fortify their research.

Whilst chatting with the Magnetica team, Matthew expressed his delight at the industry’s recognition of the potential of low-field MRI. Matthew triumphantly told us, “We’ve been researching and developing low-field, portable MRI for 25 years, and finally, it is catching on!”

AI and Deep Learning Bolstering MRI Advances

The low-field hype was bolstered by a secondary but no less significant theme across ISMRM 2024 presentations and discussions: the ever-growing focus on AI and deep learning. Implementing deep learning technologies has become the backbone of support for those championing low-field MRI advancements, and nowhere was this demonstrated more than during ISMRM 2024.

The Magnetica booth was alive with discussions about AI and deep learning’s pivotal role in enhancing imaging quality in low-field MR systems. These interactions underscored an important trend: integrating AI is becoming indispensable in advancing MRI technology.

Discussing the Ethics of AI

Of course, no discussion about AI or deep learning is complete without addressing ethical concerns.  ISMRM 2024 also provided a platform for discussing ethics in MR AI research, with several lectures tackling the issue.

The closing plenary session, “Ethical Issues in MR AI Research,” by Dr. Mark Schweitzer, M.D. of Wayne State University, effectively rounded out this conversation.

Throughout his presentation, Dr Schweitzer emphasised the many consequences of ill-considered ethics when using AI in medical imaging. He presented three ethical paradigms and a hierarchy of violations that should always be considered with medical technologies. Dr Schweitzer considered issues such as database biases, data privacy and consent violations, copyright issues, statistical concerns, generative AI and the artificial construction of images, liability, risk management and more.  

These discussions are crucial as they guide AI’s responsible development and implementation in MRI.

Graeme Bydder Book Launch

Peter Penfold (Magnetica) meets with Dr Graeme Bydder & his son to celebrate his book launch at ISMRM 2024 in Singapore.

Throughout ISMRM 2024, we connected with Dr Graeme Bydder, renowned MRI expert and founder of the T2-FLAIR technique. A true pioneer in the field, Graeme, chose the conference to unofficially launch his newly published book, “MRI of Short- and Ultrashort-T2 Tissues: Making the Invisible Visible“.

Graeme’s visits to our booth and generous knowledge-sharing were highlights for the Magnetica team. Drawing on his many decades of study and experience, Graeme provided unique and entertaining perspectives into the industry during his visits. He even offered signed copies of his book for our team and thanked Magnetica for its support in the book’s preface.

The team was grateful for the opportunity to enrich our knowledge and engage with someone who has significantly shaped MRI technology.

ISMRM 2024: A Key Opportunity to Connect and Learn for the Magnetica Team

Magnetica team members Peter Penfold and Tanya Love connect with visitors to the booth during ISMRM 2024.

During ISMRM 2024, Magnetica attracted a diverse and steady stream of visitors, from researchers and students to industry experts, all eager to learn about our latest advancements in compact MRI systems. Our team, Peter Penfold and Tanya Love embraced the opportunity to showcase our technologies and learn from our peers and industry thought leaders.

Amusingly, throughout the conference, we watched as our choice of promotional giveaway item, the Magnetica branded fidget spinner, spun itself right into the hearts of delegates. As the days progressed and word got around, our humble little fidget spinner became a coveted piece of swag amongst conference attendees. Visitors often returned (with their friends!) searching for the prized gadget.

We delighted in witnessing seasoned industry leaders intrigued by the possibilities our fidget spinners offered them and strategising ways to take them home.  We’re not entirely convinced they were all destined to be “souvenirs for the kids”.

Montage of the Magnetica booth and promotional items – model of the prototype 3T MSK Extremity MRI system and fidget spinners.

Reflecting on ISMRM 2024 and Looking Ahead

As we reflect on our successful participation at ISMRM 2024, we are encouraged by the new connections we made and the opportunities that lie ahead. These events are stepping stones for Magnetica as we continue to innovate and prepare our compact MRI system for its commercial launch.

Furthermore, interactions like those we experienced during the event with respected dignitaries such as Graeme Bydder, Andrew Webb and Matthew Rosen remind us of the profound impact of deep, specialised knowledge on the medical industry and the research community.

CTA – learn more about future events that Magnetica will be attending in 2024

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