Magnetic Resonance Imaging was firstdiscovered in the 1950s and used initially inthe field of spectroscopy.
It was not until the 1970s when workundertaken by Lauterbur expanded the useof Magnetic Resonance Imaging intomedical applications which then enabledexaminations of the human body in vivo(Liney, 2005).The technique produces the MR imagethrough the detection of the presence ofhydrogens (protons) within the body. TheMRI machine subjects these hydrogens to alarge magnetic field which partiallypolarizestheir nuclear spins. The spins are thenexcited using tuned radio frequencyradiation. Radio frequency radiation is thendetected from them as they relax from this magnetic interaction.The frequency of the signal from the proton is proportional to the magnetic fieldapplied during the radiation process. Using these signals, a map of the body areascanned is then produced which forms the magnetic resonance image. (Nave)While the use of MRI scans has provided good insight into the pathology of thehuman body, for the identification of lesions it presents some areas of concern.Broadly speaking there are two main categories of lesions that are of interest tomedical professionals;
white matter lesions (WML), resulting in blood-brain barrier damage(Calabrese, et al., 2008)
gray matter lesions (GML), resulting in demyelination of nerve fibres(Calabrese, et al., 2008)These lesions point towards a number of different medical conditions and theiridentification is often paramount to determine treatment for the patient as well ascritical in monitoring the effects of drug therapy in clinical trials. (Van Leemput, Maes,Bello, Vandermeulen, Colchester, & Suetens, 2000)
Figure 1 Example of a normal brain MRI image (McGillUniversity, 2006)