The Encyclopedia of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance covered a huge topic area, with many highly specific and esoteric aspects of great interest to those working in them but with little relevance to those operating in other fields. As a result, some of those with a more limited potential interest in the topic have been deterred from purchasing and using the eight volumes of which it is comprised. In an attempt to redress this problem, the editors felt it would be appropriate to republish sections of the Encyclopedia as independent volumes, with the intention that they would appeal very directly to the specific groups of scientists and clinicians at whom they were directed.
Because their priorities lie in other directions, with the delivery of patient care as their prime target, it was noted that one of the groups with a distinct focus for which much of the content of the Encyclopedia, while of intellectual interest, held little practical relevance, was the biomedical community. These volumes, therefore, are an abstraction from the Encyclopedia of the articles in it concerned with magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy. It is concerned with imaging in all its forms, and with spectroscopy in as far as it relates to in vivo studies, and clinical applications involving in vitro investigations of tissue.
The volume is substantially comprised of articles published in the Encyclopedia, some as they were originally presented, where there is little new information, and some more or less substantially revised in the light of what has been happening since the articles were first written. A number of new articles have been added where topics have either developed from fragmentary discussions in the early 1990s, or have been created ab initio since the first publication. The book is unique in its coverage, with a balance between imaging physics, spectroscopy and clinical studies. In many ways, it reflects the scope covered by the major international in vivo NMR Societies, with a conscious effort to allow the reader to understand all the elements that make up modern clinical magnetic resonance. Equally, the topic is so huge, and still evolving so fast in detail, rather than concept, that it can act as no more than an Introduction, though at quite a demanding level. Someone who peruses this book will appreciate the extent, nature and dynamics of human and animal magnetic resonance, and will have the route map to allow him (or her) to find any further information he (or she) may need. After reading this work, it should be possible for someone to design and build and operate a whole body magnetic resonance system, or even an NMR microscope. The result is unlikely to be as good as the best operators can achieve, but, then, they have had many years of practice!
This work, unlike its predecessor Encyclopedia which listed them alphabetically, has organised the various articles which comprise it into topic-based sections.
The work begins with an overview section, which includes discussion of the role of MR in practice, and covers general topics such as signal-to-noise ratio, and safety. This is followed by sections covering machine hardware, and the means by which image data is generated. Thereafter, there is a group of sections describing the methodology and techniques of in vivo MR, including aspects of very high resolution imaging (microscopy) and including articles on a variety of imaging topics, on flow (at all levels of molecular motion), and about observation of brain function. This part of the work concludes with sections about the very important subject (because it is responsible for so much of the contrast between tissues which is such a feature of MRI) of relaxometry, the various contrast agents now being used in MRI, and the techniques of MRS.
Next there is a section on the animal models used, principally, in MRS, before the work concludes with a series of sections covering the clinical uses of MRI and MRS. These sections are grouped by body segment (head and spine; thorax, abdomen and pelvis, and the musclo-skeletal system) and mix articles on the two topics by tissue type rather than differentiating them by methodology. This is surely right, as MRS is essentially a companion tool for MRI, and is used to gain additional functional information from a region the morphology of which is already known.
Because of the way in which the work was put together, and the time period over which it was assembled, there is inevitably some unevenness of coverage in it. Its clinical coverage is less extensive than would be found in one of the Radiological textbooks; but it does, uniquely, provide substantial coverage of all aspects of both MRI and MRS as they are practised at this time.
I am very conscious of the support of the many people who have made it feasible for me to edit this work, and I would like to thank them very gratefully for it. Without contributors the work would be a thin one indeed, and I am most grateful to the many busy people who have supplied the articles in it. I am grateful to the Editors-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance for their encouragement in attempting this further task, and, for her huge assistance, to my editor at Wiley, Ms. Jenny Cossham. The work would not have happened without her. I must also mention my secretary, Mrs. Mary Crisp, who has had much to put up with in its preparation, and who has been a tireless and most effective supporter, and Geoff Reynolds, also at Wiley, who has supervised the book’s production.
Finally, I have to thank my wife, who has had to live with the gestation of the book with all its attendant traumas. She has had more to cope with than it is right for any woman!I.R.Young.
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