Magnetic Resonance Imaging

A magnetic resonance image (MRI) is produced by placing a subject in a static magnetic field and exciting certain atoms in the body with pulses of radiofrequency waves. The excited atoms produce signals transformed to (a series of) images that can be analyzed to measure the volume of muscle or adipose within a region of the body (Fig. 2). Although MRI is widely available for human clinical studies, the equipment is expensive to purchase and operate. MRI has been used for body composition analysis in several species, including poultry, sheep, and swine

Fig. 2 A composite of sagittal MRI images of a pig. The top portion is through the middle line of the thoracic region, and the bottom portion, through the abdominal region, is off set to bisect one of the back legs.
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