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Rutgers wins funds to create online index of moving brain images

NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Researchers at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, have been awarded $2 million by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a new approach to indexing and comparing images of the living, thinking brain.

The researchers will develop computer software that will allow medical researchers and physicians around the world to share information and images online. The images will assist them in better understanding brain disorders such as Alzheimer's and autism.

"Rutgers is very proud to direct this collaboration by outstanding information scientists, mathematicians and psychologists to further medical research," said Joseph J. Seneca, university vice president for academic affairs. "This project focuses high-powered information analysis with behavioral science in creative ways that ultimately can improve the quality of life."

Funded by the NSF's Cross-Cutting Initiative in Information Technology Research, the Rutgers project is headed by Paul Kantor, professor of library and information studies science at Rutgers' School of Communication, Information and Library Studies (SCILS) in New Brunswick and Stephen Hanson, associate professor of psychology and co-director of the Advanced Imaging Center at Rutgers-Newark.

To study brain disorders, doctors can take pictures of patients' brains using a highly sophisticated instrument called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

The technique produces millions of bytes of data that are transformed into moving images, allowing doctors to see how brain signals move across the brain.

"Scientists would greatly benefit from accessing these images, to look for patterns that might provide clues about the differences between a diseased brain and a normal brain," Kantor said.

Currently, however, the data are indexed by little more than the patient's vital statistics. "If we have better ways of indexing and retrieving images, i
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Contact: Patricia Lamiell
plamiell@ur.rutgers.edu
732-932-7084
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
24-Oct-2002


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