“Trying to see the brain better:” Partnership between GE and the NFL results in powerful MRI machine

WAUKESHA -- As the saying goes, knowledge is power, and thanks to engineers at GE Healthcare, scientists are about to know more about the human brain than ever before.

“That’s the work of hundreds of engineers that’s taken four, almost five years to develop. It’s all designed right here in Waukesha, Wisconsin," said Bryan Mock, GM of GE Healthcare's Magnetic Resonance Facility in Waukesha.

SIGNA Premier MRI machine

GE Healthcare

In 2013, GE and the NFL teamed up to create the $60 million Head Health Initiative, trying to improve the diagnosis and treatment of concussions and traumatic brain injuries. The SIGNA Premier MRI machine is one result of that investment.

“[With] this machine, we can image about 60% faster than previous technology," said Mock.

That speed is important. Faster imaging equals more clarity and detail.

“We were never really able to do it before, because the scan times were so long," said Steve Lawson, describing an image of microscopic white matter that looked like a rainbow web weaving through the brain. "And now we’re doing this within six, seven minutes or so.”

SIGNA Premier

The SIGNA Premier can be used to scan any part of the body. But images of the brain its full potential.

“It’s all about trying to see the brain better -- get a better handle on concussions and ultimately, as things progress here, trying to get a better handle on how people are doing recovering from concussion, and can they get back into life or back into sports more quickly," said Mock.

Mock said there is still no definitive test to diagnose a concussion, only clinical evaluation, but scientists now have a powerful new tool in their arsenal.

SIGNA Premier MRI machine

SIGNA Premier MRI machine

SIGNA Premier MRI machine

SIGNA Premier MRI machine

The SIGNA Premier is not only faster than previous MRI machines, it’s also larger -- all in an effort to make it a more comfortable atmosphere for the patient.