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Philips and SyntheticMR launch AI-based quantitative brain imaging system

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The software suite is designed to measure fluids in the brain, including myelin, in hopes of more accurately detecting and diagnosing brain injury.

Dutch multinational company Phillips has teamed up with Swedish software firm Synthetic MR to develop quantitative brain imaging tools powered by artificial intelligence (AI) in a bid to advance the diagnosis of disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and dementia.

According to Phillips, the Smart Quant Neuro 3D MRI machine software suite can measure various brain tissues. This includes the analysis of myelin volumes, the insulating layer around nerves that ensures electrical impulses in the brain reach their destination, allowing for the objective assessment of traumatic brain injuries that could previously only be diagnosed via symptom-based tests.

The software comes as a combination of three previously released programmes, the SmartSpeed image-reconstruction technology, Philips 3D SyntAc clinical application and SyntheticMR’s SyMRI NEURO 3D quantitative tissue assessment software.

Philips has said that the software combination will utilise AI to provide fully verified automatic 3D segmentation and volume measurement of brain tissue such as white matter, grey matter, cerebrospinal fluid, and myelin.

GlobalData’s Medical Device Intelligence Centre estimates that the market for AI in diagnostic imaging sat at $336m in 2022, with that figure estimated to rise to $1.2bn by 2027. At the same time, the general AI market for healthcare in general is set to reach an estimated $18.8m.

Ruud Zwerink, business leader at Philips, said: “Life-changing brain injury and neurodegenerative disease are two of the most difficult diagnoses that clinicians have to make on a daily basis, because of the different symptoms exhibited by individual patients.

“With Smart Quant Neuro 3D, clinicians have access to an easy-to-use tool to provide valuable quantitative data to track the impact of treatments and make informed decisions about adjustments or alternative interventions as needed. This continuous monitoring enhances patient care by enabling proactive management of neurological conditions and optimising therapeutic outcomes for patients.”

Quantitative measurement of myelin loss allows clinicians to assess certain brain conditions and track their progression over time, as well as evaluate the effect of the latest disease-modifying drugs.

It comes during a difficult period for Philips’ medical device wing after a series of recalls including the recall of its SPECT BrightView nuclear imaging system has put particular strain on the company.

Elsewhere in the field of AI in imaging technology, French company AZmed has raised €15m ($16.2m) in Series A funding to develop AI-assisted medical imaging to optimise the workflow of radiologists.

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