3T MRI and Patient Caring Suite – Boys Town National Research Hospital
The mission at Boys Town is to change the
way America cares for children, families and communities, and this will change the way
that children are cared for, for imaging, in the Omaha metro.
This is a state-of-the-art 3 tesla MRI scanner. This is really the cutting edge of what’s
clinically available for children and for adults.
Scans are handled in very welcoming, calming environment. They come into this room, which,
as you see right now, has a blue hue to it. That can be changed to pink, green, red, or
whatever a patient might find soothing. We have the ability to have music of the patient’s
choosing to cover up some of the sound you hear, which is normal with an MRI scanner.
We have the ability to have the child or the patient watch a movie or T.V. program while
they’re having their scan. Our scanner is designed to provide maximum
value to Boys Town and the community because it can be used both for patients, for diagnostic
studies, as well as for research. Boys Town is in a very unique position to
make a real difference in Neurobehavioral research.
At Boys Town we have both the medical and the behavioral research. Youth care has been
doing behavioral research for 40 years and the hospital has been doing medical research.
We’re now combining that to make a difference in kids’ lives.
Boys Town has been very good at behavioral intervention. We use that in the Intensive
Residential Treatment Center every day. We want to change the behavior of the child so
we’re teaching to that behavior. What we want to do now is we want to seek the biological
evidence of what kind of impact we’re having. That functional MRI now can provide that.
FMRI is a way we can look at the brain in real time and see how it’s functioning.
The way we use it in research is, we put a child in the scanner and we give them computer
tasks to work on. While they’re performing these computer games we can take pictures
of their brain. By using that, we can actually demonstrate
whether or not their brain is functioning normally or if there is something functionally
wrong with the child’s brain. If a person is depressed you see different
activation patterns or if a person is anxious you see different activation patterns.
Our research is really going to be dedicated to better understanding mental illness in
children, things like depression and anxiety, as well as behavioral problems.
What we really want are better targets for interventions so we can develop better treatments
that are safer and more effective for children. I think this new 3T MRI scanner at Boys Town
adds another important piece to the medical community in Omaha.
This is a setting specifically devoted toward providing very child friendly and family friendly
care. It’s a place where kids can come and have
a scan done, helping their doctors to figure out what their problems might be and how best
to treat them. This machine is absolutely a game changer
for us. It’s going to allow us to have better resolution, better research and better data.
This fits in to our mission, to change the way America cares for children, perfectly.
We want to take this research and we want to change kids’ lives as a result.