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NYC Council Member James Vacca Helps Brings Advanced MRI Technology to Einstein College of Medicine

BRONX, N.Y., Dec. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At a morning ceremony today, New York City Council Member James Vacca, along with administrators and faculty members of Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, celebrated the re-launch of Einstein's Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center (MRRC). Thanks to Council Member Vacca's support, Einstein now houses an advanced magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy system (MRI/MRS) that provides imaging capabilities unique in the New York City area.

With the help of $2 million in New York City capital funding that Council Member Vacca allocated in 2008 for the city's 2009 fiscal year budget cycle, Einstein purchased a Philips 3.0 Tesla Achieva Quasar TX Multinuclear MRI/MRS system.  Representing the latest developments in the field of magnetic resonance imaging, the system – which includes a six ton magnet – provides significant enhancements in speed, image uniformity and quality of imaging in any region of the body.

"I was very happy to be able to allocate City Council capital funds to assist Einstein in purchasing this important equipment, which will enhance their already outstanding research capabilities," said Council Member Vacca. "Not only is Einstein a leader in vital and cutting-edge medical research, but it is also an outstanding member of our community here in the Northeast Bronx. It is my hope that this new technology will allow the Gruss MRRC to make big strides in understanding a wide variety of diseases and disorders."

"With the support of Council Member Vacca and the Council's Bronx delegation, Einstein now offers researchers and the surrounding community the best medical imaging has to offer," said Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean of Einstein. "From understanding concussion and sleep apnea to autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), this new equipment is currently advancing our knowledge of human disease, which will ultimately lead to improvements in patient care."

Research using the new system has already impacted the local community with science at both ends of the age spectrum – from child to senior citizen. Researchers are currently mapping the atypical brain networks in children with ADHD and autism, probing structural changes in the body of obese adolescents, and studying the effects of aging on the brain.

"In addition to our existing efforts, the system allows for significant upgrades that will allow Gruss MRRC to expand its capabilities," said Craig Branch, Ph.D., director of the Gruss MRRC and associate professor of radiology and of physiology & biophysics at Einstein. "With planned improvements, we will enable new research directions, including a program to integrate MRI and other developing imaging technologies to develop noninvasive probes for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer."

The 3T MRI/MRS incorporates major advances in MRI technology, including its unique use of a dual energy source, which improves tissue visualization; 32 independent detectors, which improves image quality by a factor of 3 to 4 and greatly accelerates the speed of use; and the latest in imaging coil technology, which provides optimal and comfortable imaging of any part of the body.

About Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2011-2012 academic year, Einstein is home to 724 M.D. students, 248 Ph.D. students, 117 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and 368 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has 2,522 full time faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2011, Einstein received nearly $170 million in awards from the NIH. This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Its partnership with Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein, advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. Through its extensive affiliation network involving Montefiore, Jacobi Medical Center, Einstein's founding hospital, and five other hospital systems in the Bronx, Manhattan, Long Island and Brooklyn, Einstein runs one of the largest post-graduate medical training programs in the United States, offering approximately 155 residency programs to more than 2,200 physicians in training. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @EinsteinMed.

SOURCE Albert Einstein College of Medicine
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