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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

Political ad Spend on Facebook Picks up in April

The 2019 Lok Sabha election is being held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19

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FILE - The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

Political parties and their affiliates ramped up spending on social media ads ahead of the third phase of Lok Sabha elections, scheduled for Tuesday, show data released by Facebook Ad Library.

Indians spent around Rs 7 crore for running political ads on Facebook and Instagram in the first 20 days of April, while the amount spent on these platforms in February-March was about Rs 10 crore.

Facebook’s Ad Library, a searchable database, includes ads related to politics and issues of national importance run on Facebook or Instagram.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its affiliates continue to lead the ad spending on Facebook. The official BJP page took the top spot in the list of spenders on social media platforms. Of the Rs 1.3 crore that it spent on Facebook, Rs 44.32 lakh was spent during the week ending April 20.

The official Congress page on Facebook spent Rs 56.69 lakh during February-April 20.

However, supporters and affiliates of political parties account for most of the spending on the social media platforms.

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FILE – An Indian man surfs a Facebook page at an Internet cafe in New Delhi, India, Feb. 9, 2016. VOA

For example, the pro-BJP pages — Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat (Rs 2.23 core), My First Vote For Modi (Rs 1.08 crore) and Nation with NaMo (Rs 1.20 crore) among others — spent much more than the Congress.

Similarly, the pro-Congress page “Bande Mein Hai Dum” spent Rs 2.59 lakh for drumming up support for the grand old party on Facebook and the Indian Youth Congress spent Rs 6.52 lakh on the social media platform.

Among the regional parties, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the YSR Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) lead the spending table on Facebook.

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On Twitter, the accounts spending over $100 during the past week belonged to BJP MLA from Mandawa Narendra Kumar, Mumbai Congress unit chief Milind Deora, Congress leader and former Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahai, BJD President Naveen Patnaik and the TN Youth Party.

The 2019 Lok Sabha election is being held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. (IANS)