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22 tons of cutting edge medical technology arrive in Boyle Heights

BOYLE HEIGHTS —  Highly skilled scientists will soon be able to use one of the world’s most advanced magnetic resonance imaging machines at USC’s Health Sciences Campus to capture detailed images of the brain as part of research into a variety of illnesses. But first, a giant crane had to lift the machine’s  22-ton, drum-shaped magnet into the sky and then drop it into place on Saturday.

Mary Dacuma, a USC Keck Medicine spokeswoman, explained the process:

“A next-generation 7T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine was installed at USC Stevens Hall, home to the USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute. To accommodate the machine’s magnet, which weighs 22 tons (roughly the equivalent of 30 elephants), a crane carefully lowered the magnet through a hatch in the imaging room roof. This is the only 7T MRI machine of its kind in North America, and the only version of this machine worldwide that was installed for investigational research. With it, scientists can capture enhanced images of brain structure and function, allowing for cutting-edge science in healthy subjects as well as those suffering from a variety of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, autism, and epilepsy research.”

Stevens Hall, which was completed recently, was built with a detachable roof and collapsible floor in the imaging room in preparation for the machine’s installation.

Photo courtesy Keck Medicine of USC

Photo courtesy Keck Medicine of USC

Photo courtesy Keck Medicine of USC

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