Novel applications, model, and methods in magnetic resonance elastography
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Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE) is a non-invasive imaging technique that maps and quantifies the mechanical properties of soft tissue related to the propagation and attenuation of shear waves. There is considerable interest in whether MRE can bring new insight into pathologies. Brain in particular has been of utmost interest in the recent years. Brain tumors, Alzheimer's disease, and Multiple Sclerosis have all been subjects of MRE studies. This thesis addresses four aspects of MRE, ranging from novel applications in brain MRE, to physiological interpretation of measured mechanical properties, to improvements in MRE technology. First, we present longitudinal measurements of the mechanical properties of glioblastoma tumorigenesis and progression in a mouse model. Second, we present a new finding from our group regarding a localized change in mechanical properties of neural tissue when functionally stimulated. Third, we address contradictory results in the literature regarding the effects of vascular pressure on shear wave speed in soft tissues. To reconcile these observations, a mathematical model based on poro-hyperelasticity is used. Finally, we consider a part of MRE that requires inferring mechanical properties from MR measurements of vibration patterns in tissue. We present improvements to MRE reconstruction methods by developing and using an advanced variational formulation of the forward problem for shear wave propagation.