At the core of the imaging centre is a Siemens 3 Tesla Magnetom Allegra which is a compact, small bore (22cm field of view), dedicated brain MRI scanner. This is the first MRI scanner of its kind on our continent, and currently one of the most advanced brain imaging tools on the market. The Allegra system is equipped with a CP single channel head coil, a four channel phased array head coil, an infant coil and a small animal coil. The scanner is capable of gradient amplitudes of 40mT/m per axis and a slew rate of 400T/m/s. The Allegra is running on the Syngo MR2004A platform and we have a research agreement with Siemens to install and develop state-of-the-art custom MRI sequences. Paintings of cartoon animals span the walls of the scanner room, creating a cheerful and distinctly African feel.
Visuals are projected using a SANYO PLC XT-20 data projector and a specialised lens. Projection is done through a wave guide at the back of the MRI suite and onto a rear projection screen. We have two fiber optic response boxes, each with 4 buttons. In addition, we have an MRI compatible mouse and joystick. The MRI suite is equipped with a dedicated stimulus-presentation computer which is triggered by the scanner, and we have licenses for both E-Prime and Presentation software tools. During the MRI scans we are able to measure ECG, respiratory rate and temperature. We also have a high-end Resonance Technology audio system and we have access to a Brain Products MRI-compatible EEG system. A simulation room containing a mock MRI scanner can be reserved to acquaint subjects with the scanning experience.