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Facebook and NYU are using AI to dramatically speed up MRI imaging

Researchers have long looked for ways to speed up magnetic resonance imagining (MRI). Two years ago, Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research group (FAIR) began collaborating with researchers at New York University’s Medical School on artificial intelligence that held the promise of reducing the time it takes to get an MRI from an hour to as few as 15 minutes. The group is now releasing the results of its first study, which shows that the quality and usefulness of these AI-fueled MRI scans are not detectably different from those of traditional MRI. Called FastMRI, the technology stands to make MRI more accessible and affordable if adopted broadly.

The study, conducted by NYU researchers, took conventional MRI scans of the knees of 108 patients, pulled out some of the raw data, and created new MRI scans using AI to produce an image based off this new, limited set of information. Six radiologists reviewed all of the scans and made clinical recommendations for each. The study found that overall, radiologists made the same recommendations for the original scan as they did for the fastMRI scan. Researchers say that the radiologists preferred the quality of the FastMRI over the traditional and only one was reliably able to discern the difference between the two. The study says that the results suggest the medical community may be keen to adopt FastMRI technology if and when it becomes available.

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