Cinematic-MRI captures twins 'fighting' in womb, live birth

Posted Nov 30, 2012 by JohnThomas Didymus
A fascinating video shows a pair of twins "fighting" inside the womb before they were born. The remarkable footage, captured by the Imperial College London's fetal care center, is the raw unprocessed movie image taken by the cinematic-MRI machine.
Fetus in the womb
Fetus in the womb
The second video shows the equally fascinating process of a live birth captured by cinematic-MRI.
The first video shows a pair of twins in utero, "kicking" at each other in the cramped space of their mother's womb in what appears a struggle for leg room.
The Daily Mail reports that the hospital used cinematic-MRI to capture the images of the twins struggling in the womb.
According to the CBS News, the video was originally taken to diagnose a deadly condition called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a rare condition that occurs only in identical twins when blood from one fetus moves into another. The condition causes one twin to be significantly smaller than the other.
The weaker sibling is born paler, anemic and dehydrated, while the bigger twin that receives blood is born with an increased blood pressure that could lead to heart failure.
Reuters reports that Dr. Marisa Taylor-Clarke, from the Robert Steiner MR Unit at Imperial College London, explained the footage:
"We use MRI in twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, not so much for diagnosing it, which can effectively be done on ultrasound but more for looking at the consequences of it... So one of the problems with the imbalances of blood flow is that if you get a sudden shift of blood from one twin to the other, that can cause brain injury, so it can cause stroke or hemorrhage in one or both of the twins' brains. MRI can pick up signs of brain injury much earlier and in much greater detail than ultrasound can at the moment."
According to New Scientist, the cinematic-MRI method is a newly developed form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). New Scientist explains:
"Whereas conventional MRI takes snapshots of thin slices of the body as it penetrates through it, so-called cinematic-MRI takes repeated images of the same slice, then stitches them together to create a video. This means that a moving structure such as a fetus – or several fetuses – can be visualized in unprecedented detail."
Taylor-Clarke explained further: "A lot of the so-called videos in the womb are very processed, so they do a lot of reconstructing and computer work afterwards. These are the raw images that are acquired immediately."
New Scientist explains that Taylor-Clarke is using cine-MRI to study twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome in detail. She said: "Using this technique we can begin to say something about the impact of these two separate environments within a shared environment and how this affects the supposedly genetically identical brain."