What is MR spectroscopy?

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1H-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) is a novel advanced imaging technique used as an adjunct to MRI to reveal complementary non-invasive information about the biochemical composition of imaged tissue. Clinical uses in paediatrics include aiding diagnosis of brain tumours, neonatal disorders such as hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, inherited metabolic diseases, traumatic brain injury, demyelinating conditions and infectious brain lesions. MRS has potential to improve diagnosis and treatment monitoring of childhood brain tumours and other CNS diseases, facilitate biopsy and surgical planning, and provide prognostic biomarkers. MRS is employed as a research tool outside the brain in liver disease and disorders of muscle metabolism. The range of clinical uses is likely to increase with growing evidence for added value. Multicentre trials are needed to definitively establish the benefits of MRS in specific clinical scenarios and integrate this promising new technique into routine practice to improve patient care. This article gives a brief overview of MRS and its potential clinical applications, and addresses challenges surrounding translation into practice.

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