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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: August 2010



Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) allows the non-invasive measurement of selected biological compounds in vivo. Feasibility was first demonstrated in humans in the mid-1980s. Since that time, much experience has been accumulated with the use of MRS in both research and clinical applications. Nearly all magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners have the capability to perform MRS, and MRS techniques still continue to improve, even after two decades of development. MRS has been applied to the study of all major pathologies, particularly in the brain, but has also found application in other organ systems as well, most notably in the breast and prostate.

In spite of this considerable research effort and the unique biochemical information provided, only limited integration of MRS into clinical practice has occurred to date. There are multiple reasons for this, including non-standardization of acquisition and analysis protocols, limited vendor support, difficulties in interpretation (particularly for radiologists without a background in MRS), limited perceived “added-value” above conventional MRI, and lack of reimbursement.

This book is intended to address some of these issues. It gives the reader a solid basis for understanding both the techniques and applications of clinical MRS. Recommendations are made for MRS protocols, and information provided on normal regional- and age-related metabolic variations in the brain. Detailed information about the role of MRS in evaluating pathologies involving the central nervous system, breast, prostate, and musculoskeletal systems is provided.