Thanks to a collaboration between Carle Health and the University of Illinois, a first-of-its-kind imaging study will be conducted in Champaign-Urbana. The Champaign-Urbana Population Study will use the new, jointly acquired unique technology, the Siemens MAGNETOM Terra 7 Tesla (7T) MRI to collect information about the brain’s structure and function across a diverse group of volunteers.

Leaders of the study anticipate the information collected will improve our understanding of brain health and how the brain changes over time. Hopes are the study will support the translation of technology to improve clinical outcomes.

To move forward, the study needs 300 local, volunteers ages 18 and older to participate. Participation includes an up-to three-year commitment, and volunteers will also complete several questionnaires about their health, medical history and physical activity. They will also participate in a brief cognitive function assessment and have up to three, 2-hour brain scans at the Carle Illinois Advanced Imaging Center.

“We are very excited to be conducting this study with those who live in or near the Champaign-Urbana area. Those who participate will be able to say they contributed to research making a difference in so many lives locally, nationally and internationally,” Bruce Damon, Ph.D., co-director of Carle Illinois Advanced Imaging Center and director of Clinical Imaging Research for the Stephens Family Clinical Research Institute at Carle Health said.

Data collected from volunteers will be available for local researchers from Carle and the University and create a de-identified public database of 7T neuroimaging as a baseline for future studies around the world. The neuroimaging data will provide unique and detailed information about the structure and function of the brain of healthy volunteers.

“With the collaboration between researchers and clinicians that already exists between the University and Carle, it made the most sense to do a study together. This is huge because no one in the state of Illinois has this kind of access to the 7T – an incredibly safe tool that provides incredibly detailed images,” Tracey Wszalek, Ph.D., co-director of the Carle Illinois Advanced Imaging Center, said. Wszalek is also director of the Biomedical Imaging Center at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois.

Study sponsors are Carle Foundation Hospital, Stephens Family Clinical Research Institute, the University of Illinois, and the University’s Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

To learn more about the team leading the research or to volunteer to be part of this once in a lifetime study, visit the Champaign-Urbana Population Study website.

Editor’s note: The original article by Carle Health can be found here.


December 6, 2021