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New MRI to debut in African nation of Malawi; will save lives, advance malaria research
Date:6/5/2008

Michigan State University physician Terrie Taylor studies cerebral malaria in Malawi where the vast majority of malaria patients are children. And, in order to get a closer look at the damage malaria does to a child, Taylor and colleagues study the child's brain, something that, up until now, could only be done in an autopsy.

However, that will change this summer when a new magnetic resonance imaging unit the first MRI machine ever to come to Malawi will be put into operation. This will not only let physicians assess malaria damage before a child has died, but will help to diagnose a wide range of illnesses that affect the local population.

"This will help in so many ways," Taylor said. "We will use it for the research we do, we'll be able to use it for everyday patients that come through the hospital, and it will help to attract and retain more doctors to Malawi."

The MRI unit arrived in Malawi in April. It will be housed at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi's largest city.

It will be officially dedicated by the minister of health on June 23 at a ceremony involving a number of MSU dignitaries.

"We are honored that the honorable Kkhumbo Kachali, Ministry of Health, will be able to join us on this historic occasion," said William Strampel, dean of MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine which donated more than $400,000 for the project.

Currently there is only one radiologist who serves the entire nation of Malawi. Another benefit of the new MRI unit is that it will allow that radiologist Sam Kampondeni to send images to MSU where radiologists will be able to assess and evaluate them and offer a second opinion.

"With this new MRI unit we will be able to serve as many as 18 patients per day," said Kampondeni, who trained as a guest in the MSU Department of Radiology in 2007.

Not only will the MRI machine be the first in Malawi, it will also serve the neighboring countr
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Contact: Tom Oswald
oswald@msu.edu
517-432-0920
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

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