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MRI, MRA, MRE

You're familiar with the term "MRI". Even the most non-medical person has heard of magnetic resonance imaging which is a form of scan technology often used in place of the CT scan to determine what is going on inside the body. If nothing else, you've heard it mentioned on television doctor dramas. But what you probably haven't heard mentioned there are the other MRs: MRAs and MREs.

The MRA (magnetic resonance angiography) is related to the MRI in that it uses MRI technology. The MRA itself is a minimally-invasive procedure done not just to identify problems in the body but also to treat them. You can learn more about the MRA here.

So what about the MRE? If you haven't heard of this one yet, you shouldn't be surprised. Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE) is a new imaging technique which is just beginning to be explored by research doctors at the Mayo Clinic. It differs from the MRI in that its purpose is to measure tissue elasticity. The equipment is similar to that used in MRI scanning but has been tweaked to allow for vibrations of the muscles which are read by the machinery. The most recent study that it was used in was to assess muscle information for the purpose of improved diagnosis of myofascial pain. (You can learn more about that here.)

Question of the Day: What could you tell another person about an MRI?

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