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The University Heights Center for Advanced Imaging

The University Heights Center for Advanced Imaging
A Joint Venture of UMDNJ and Rutgers-Newark

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About the Center for Advanced Imaging

fMRI Unit
A new high-powered (3-Tesla) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner that provides detailed pictures of specific areas of brain activity is enabling University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) and Rutgers University-Newark researchers to significantly advance neurological research, and better understand and develop potential treatments for brain injury and for devastating neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, and autism. The fMRI scanner is the centerpiece of the University Heights Center for Advanced Imaging.

One of only a handful of such scanners being used nationwide, this fMRI scanner is housed at the University of Medicine and Dentistry's (UMDNJ) campus in Newark, and is jointly owned by Rutgers-Newark and UMDNJ.

The new scanner has a field strength of 3 Tesla, doubling the highest strength of the scanners available for clinical studies until recently. Tesla is the measure of power of an MRI scanner. Approximately $5 million in funding for the scanner, its housing and maintenance, has been provided by the State of New Jersey/Commission on Science and Technology, the Ripple Foundation, Rutgers-Newark, and the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School Radiology Department.

"This high-field magnetic resonance imaging scanner will allow us to conduct cutting-edge research on the brain areas involved in behaviors and thinking," says Dr. Benjamin Bly, assistant professor of of psychology at Rutgers-Newark, and a member of the Deptartment of Radiology at UMDNJ's New Jersey Medical School in Newark. Bly conducts research into the brain areas involved in language comprehension and conceptual thinking, specifically what brain areas are active during concept formation and reasoning.

The fMRI scanner was installed at UMDNJ in 2001 and recently became operational. The scanner is likely to lead to breakthroughs in understanding the differences between a diseased brain and a normal brain. "This research may lead to novel theories of cognition and behavior as well as the ways they can be disrupted by injury or disease, to new diagnostic methods in neurology, psychiatry and neurosurgery, and perhaps new therapies for a variety of neurological and psychological conditions," Bly says. Functional magnetic resonance imaging was developed in 1990 when a researcher at Bell Laboratories discovered he could use the differences in blood oxygen levels to provide indirect indications of human brain activity. Since the fMRI scanner shows how the brain functions, researchers can evaluate how normal brains compare to diseased or injured brains.

The University Heights Center for Advanced Imaging
A joint venture of UMDNJ New Jersey Medical School and Rutgers-Newark

Rutgers-Newark, The State University of New JerseyUMDNJ