2012 BII Equipment Grant Awarded
Applications for the BII Small Equipment Award were of an extremely high standard, making judging difficult. However, we are delighted to award funding to Penny Hubbard, Jo Naish, David Morris, Laura Parkes and Rishma Vidyasagar to buy a Gas Analyzer and Data Acquisition system.
Magnetic resonance imaging projects involving gas challenges are underway in a number of areas of research; including the key BII application areas of respiratory, neuroscience and oncology, as well as in the placenta.
Oxygen-enhanced MRI is a fast-developing area of research within the University, with several staff members and a number of PhD students using the methodology. The technique requires subjects to breathe elevated levels of oxygen, which is paramagnetic, and leads to a contrast change in the acquired images. At present researchers assume a fixed step change in fractional inspired oxygen concentration for every subject. To fully develop this methodology, a measure of the individual oxygen concentration over time at the mask is necessary – allowing data to be analysed based on the oxygen enhancement delivered to that individual subject. Many factors, such as poor tube connections and poor mask fitting, can lead to a change in the delivery efficiency of the gas.
Gas challenge (using oxygen and carbon dioxide) also provides an exciting opportunity to calibrate fMRI, providing quantitative measures of oxygen metabolism and cerebrovascular reactivity. This is important for fMRI studies in clinical or ageing populations where neurovascular coupling may be altered. Laura Parkes and colleagues have moved existing gas analyzers from Liverpool to Salford and have embarked on pilot work in Parkinson’s disease and late-onset epilepsy, to investigate co-morbid cerebrovascular disease.
Although Laura Parkes currently has identical equipment housed at Salford Royal Hospital, duplicate equipment at the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility is of immediate necessity for the oxygen-enhanced studies and, in the future, for gas challenge studies. Results of this novel work should attract grant funding for larger studies.
The number and quality of applications received this year show that there is a need for extra funding sources for equipment and the BII will continue to make this award annually.