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Eur Biophys J. 2010 Mar;39(4):527-40. doi: 10.1007/s00249-009-0517-y. Epub 2009 Aug 13.

In vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy: basic methodology and clinical applications.

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Clinical Physics Laboratory, Department of Paediatrics 833, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


The clinical use of in vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) has been limited for a long time, mainly due to its low sensitivity. However, with the advent of clinical MR systems with higher magnetic field strengths such as 3 Tesla, the development of better coils, and the design of optimized radio-frequency pulses, sensitivity has been considerably improved. Therefore, in vivo MRS has become a technique that is routinely used more and more in the clinic. In this review, the basic methodology of in vivo MRS is described-mainly focused on (1)H MRS of the brain-with attention to hardware requirements, patient safety, acquisition methods, data post-processing, and quantification. Furthermore, examples of clinical applications of in vivo brain MRS in two interesting fields are described. First, together with a description of the major resonances present in brain MR spectra, several examples are presented of deviations from the normal spectral pattern associated with inborn errors of metabolism. Second, through examples of MR spectra of brain tumors, it is shown that MRS can play an important role in oncology.

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