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Development of Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging Techniques for Imaging Metabolites in Human Brain and Muscle

This study is currently recruiting participants.
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Verified July 26, 2017 by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) )
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) ) Identifier:
First received: December 23, 2010
Last updated: August 4, 2017
Last verified: July 26, 2017


- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a widely used scanning technique to obtain images of the human body and evaluate activity in the brain. A particular MRI method called magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) can be used to study brain chemistry as well, which may help researchers who are studying new treatments for psychiatric illnesses. Researchers are interested in improving current MRI and MRS techniques, as well as developing new MRI and MRS techniques to view and measure brain chemicals and brain activity.


- To implement, develop, and optimize brain chemistry imaging techniques using magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance spectroscopy.


- Healthy individuals between 18 and 65 years of age.


  • This study will involve a screening visit and a scanning visit at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.
  • Participants will be screened with a full medical and physical examination, blood and urine tests, and neurological testing.
  • During the second visit, participants will have an MRI scan of the brain. (Participants who have received an MRI within the past year will not need to have a second one; the images of the previous scan will be used for this study.) All participants will then have an MRS scan using the same scanning equipment.

Brain Mapping Healthy Volunteer

Study Type: Observational
Study Design: Observational Model: Other
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Development of Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Imaging Techniques for Imaging Metabolites in Human Brain and Muscle

Further study details as provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) ):

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • The primary outcome is the quality of the MR spectroscopy which includes spectrum signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio, spectral lineshape, linewidth, and resolution. [ Time Frame: Ongoing ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • The secondary outcome is the performance improvements of the scanner hardware, software and methodology. [ Time Frame: Ongoing ]

Estimated Enrollment: 300
Study Start Date: December 9, 2010
Detailed Description:

Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is identical to MRI except that the metabolite signal, rather than the dominant water signal, is measured. Proton (1H) MRS and phosphorous (31P) MRS are two powerful spectroscopy methods to measure metabolism in vivo. By using water suppression techniques, proton MRS can monitor levels of important brain metabolites and neurotransmitters such as N-acetylaspartate (NAA), creatine, choline, lactate, myo-inositol, glutamate, glutamine, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), and glutathione.

31P MRS can be utilized to measure energy phosphate metabolites of inorganic phosphate (Pi), phosphocreatine (PCr), and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in brain and muscle. In addition, phosphocholine (PC), phosphoethanolamine (PE), glycerophosphocholine (GPC) and glyceophosphoethanolamine (GPE) can also be detected in brain tissues.

This protocol proposes two main goals. First, to implement and optimize current proton and 31P MRS methods published in the literature for the imaging of metabolites in human brain and muscle. Second, to further develop new methods for use in similar brain and muscle MRS applications.

To develop and optimize in vivo MRS methods, 150 healthy volunteers will be recruited over a period of three years. The subjects will be aged 18-65 years, and include representative numbers of males, females, and minorities.

The experiments will be performed on the GE 3T, Siemens 3T and 7T MRI scanners located at the NIH In Vivo NMR Research Center. In the first portion of the study, a clinical MRI will be performed to ensure the subject has no abnormal brain conditions. In the second portion of the study, MRS scans will be performed in various system and pulse parameter combinations. No medications will be involved. Total scan time during the MRS scan will be one to two hours long.

We expect to obtain high quality proton and/or phosphorous spectroscopy imaging from healthy volunteers that will help establish accurate and reliable spectroscopy methods for clinical investigators to perform non-invasive studies of psychiatric, neurological disorders, and other diseases in human brain or muscle.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
  • 18-65 years of age
  • in good health, as indicated by the medical evaluation and screening at the NIH


  • have been diagnosed or treated for any psychiatric illness in the last 90 days
  • history of drug abuse in the last 90 days, being defined as any use of an illicit substance, or use of a prescription or over the counter medication for reasons or in amounts, other than instructed use. (caffeine and nicotine are not exclusionary)
  • in the last 90 days, have history of alcohol abuse or dependence, or have more than moderate alcohol consumption defined as a daily average of four or more ounces for men or three or more ounces for women. (one ounce being considered to be equal to one beer, one glass of wine or one mixed drink)
  • serious medical illness likely to modify brain anatomy and/or physiology, such as heart disease, liver disease, hypertension, kidney disease, diabetes, or a seizure disorder.
  • claustrophobic inside the MRI scanner
  • metallic (ferromagnetic) implants, including pacemakers or other implanted electrical devices, brain stimulators, some types of dental implants, aneurysm clips (metal clips on the wall of a large artery), metallic prostheses (including metal pins and rods, heart valves, and cochlear implants), permanent eyeliner, implanted delivery pump, shrapnel fragments, and possible small metal fragments in the eye
  • unable to lie flat on back for up to 2 hours
  • past brain surgery
  • pregnant
  • unable or unwilling to sign an informed consent document
  • NIMH employees and staff and their immediate family members will be excluded from the study per NIMH policy.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01266577

Contact: Shizhe Steve Li, Ph.D. (301) 435-8859

United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike Recruiting
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Contact: For more information at the NIH Clinical Center contact Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office (PRPL)    800-411-1222 ext TTY8664111010   
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Principal Investigator: Shizhe Steve Li, Ph.D. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
  More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Identifier: NCT01266577     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 110045
Study First Received: December 23, 2010
Last Updated: August 4, 2017

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) ):
Brain Metabolism
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Mental Illness
Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Healthy Volunteer
HV processed this record on September 21, 2017