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Facebook Aims to Make MRI Scans Faster Using AI With New York University

Advanced image reconstruction might enable ultra-low-dose CT scans suitable for vulnerable populations, such as pediatric patients, Facebook said

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LinkedIn faced probe for Facebook ads targeting 18 mn non-members. Pixabay

Facebook has forged a partnership with the New York University (NYU) on a research project that aims to make magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans up to 10 times faster by leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

If the project, called fastMRI, yields the desired results, it will make MRI technology available to more people, expanding access to this key diagnostic tool, Facebook said in a blog post on Monday.

MRI scanners provide doctors and patients with images that typically show a greater level of detail related to soft tissues — such as organs and blood vessels — than is captured by other forms of medical imaging.

But they are relatively slow, taking anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour, compared with less than a second or up to a minute, respectively, for X-ray and CT scans.

These long scan times can make MRI machines challenging for young children, as well as for people who are claustrophobic or for whom lying down is painful.

Additionally, there are MRI shortages in many rural areas and in other countries with limited access, resulting in long scheduling backlogs.

Making MRI scanners faster has several benefits, including increased access to these devices for patients.

Sufficiently accelerated MRI devices could also reduce the amount of time patients must hold their breath during imaging of the heart, liver, or other organs in the abdomen and torso.

Increased speed could let MRI machines fill the role of X-ray and CT machines for some applications, allowing patients to avoid the ionising radiation associated with those scans.

MRI Scans
Making MRI scanners faster has several benefits, including increased access to these devices for patients. Pixabay

This NYU-Facebook project will initially focus on changing how MRI machines operate.

Currently, scanners work by gathering raw numerical data in a series of sequential views and turning the data into cross-sectional images of internal body structures that doctors then use to evaluate a patient’s health.

The larger the data set to be gathered, the longer the scan will take.

Using AI, it may be possible to capture less data and therefore scan faster, while preserving or even enhancing the rich information content of magnetic resonance images.

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The key is to train artificial neural networks to recognise the underlying structure of the images in order to fill in views omitted from the accelerated scan, Facebook said.

The Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) group, believes that though this project will initially focus on MRI technology, its long-term impact could extend to many other medical imaging applications.

For example, the improvements afforded by AI have the potential to revolutionise CT scans as well.

Advanced image reconstruction might enable ultra-low-dose CT scans suitable for vulnerable populations, such as pediatric patients, Facebook said. (IANS)

Next Story

Social Networking Giant Facebook Clears Dozens of Islamophobic Posts: Report

"But the Guardian has learned that since the original story was published on Friday, Facebook has been telling users that dozens of posts distributed through the network meet its community standards," said the report on Sunday

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The Facebook mobile app on an Android smartphone. Wikimedia Commons

Facebook has reportedly cleared dozens of Islamophobic posts despite being flagged by an investigation by the Guardian that these posts are being used as part of a coordinated scheme profiting from hate and disinformation.

The Guardian revealed on Friday that an Israel-based group had gained access to at least 21 far-right Facebook pages with vast followings across the western world.

The 21 pages were used as part of a network to distribute over 1,000 “news” posts each week to more than one million followers.

Besides spreading disinformation and hate targeting Muslims, the posts were used to promote far-right politicians and vilify prominent Muslim politicians.

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The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple’s App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

The motive for the operation appears to be financial, showed the investigation which revealed that the Facebook posts directed users to a cluster of ad-heavy websites, all controlled by a single entity.

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Following the Guardian investigation, Facebook launched its own probe and removed pages and accounts which were found to be spamming content for financial gain.

“But the Guardian has learned that since the original story was published on Friday, Facebook has been telling users that dozens of posts distributed through the network meet its community standards,” said the report on Sunday. (IANS)