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The world's most powerful magnetic resonance imaging scanner has been unveiled recently at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Researchers are expecting the machine to revolutionise the way brain research is done by imaging anatomy and metabolism. The new 9.4 Tesla magnet is able to detect signals from sodium, phosphorus, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, which will give researchers a more thorough understanding of brain functions and diseases. The new scanner will help identify and monitor many common conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, autism, mental illness, and will also observe and potentially treat cognitive learning disorders, like attention deficit disorder (www.news.uic.edu).
A novel technique for following the migration of cancer cells around the body is described in the latest issue of Nature Medicine (published online, ahead of print publication, on 29 August 2004; www.nature.com /nm; doi:10.1038/nm1096). The researchers used quantum dots (fluorescent microscopic crystals, which are more stable than other fluorescent