About MI Lab
Trondheim offers a unique research environment for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound. Research in medical ultrasound in Trondheim started over 30 years ago, with the development of ultrasound Doppler blood-flow equipment and applications of the technology in non-invasive diagnosis of cardiac function and cardiac valve disease.
The ultrasound research group is currently part of the NTNU department of Circulation and Medical Imaging together with the MRI research environment at the Trondheim MR Centre and the minimally invasive surgery research groups in the Operating Room of the Future (FOR) at St. Olavs Hospital.
GE Vingmed Ultrasound originated from this research environment and has still one of its main research departments located in cohabitation with the department of Circulation and Medical Imaging. Several other Norwegian based companies and the research foundation SINTEF have on-going collaboration with the MRI and ultrasound research groups in Trondheim.
A key success factor for this research environment has been the close collaboration with the medical staff in the university hospital. This has been essential for the successful translation of medical technology innovation into new clinical practice, and for the success of the new products marketed by the industrial collaborators and upstart companies.
MRI and ultrasound
MRI and ultrasound have emerged as the two main modalities for medical imaging in the future healthcare, the main reason being their ability to image soft tissue, blood flow, organ function and physiology. Both are promising for the new fields of functional and molecular imaging and they also share the benefit of not using ionising radiation.
A unique advantage of MRI is the superior quality of the anatomical information. New advanced MR methods also provide diagnostic information about organ function, physiology, metabolism and molecular activity.
Often referred to as the ‘new stethoscope', ultrasound has the unique advantages of real time imaging, portability of the equipment, and low cost.
MI Lab focuses on four important areas:
- High quality medical imaging products and applications for non-expert users at the initial point of care;
- Less complications and quicker patient rehabilitation with image-guided minimally invasive surgery;
- Quicker and more precise choice of efficient treatment through decision-making based on advanced medical imaging;
- The creation of new ultrasound technology as an important contribution to innovation in the three areas above.
The firstthree areas share the common benefit of facilitating less post-treatment functional disability and less disease recurrence for patients.
An ageing population
With the ageing population problem in industrialised countries and increase in life-style diseases in regions of strong economic growth such as India and China, a main challenge for the healthcare sector is to contain costs. Supporting the healthcare sector to obtain improved cost efficiency should also be the focus for healthcare supply industries. Capital investment in imaging technology represents only a very small percentage of the costs in the labour-intensive hospitals, and even a major reduction in equipment prices would have only a minimum impact on healthcare costs.