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Book Reviews


What the Critics are saying about...

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About MRI Physics

By Moriel NessAiver, Ph.D


SMRT: "You will enjoy having this book as a reference, a registry review source, or even for teaching MR Physics. The illustrations are very clear and well defined. The writing is easy to follow in that it is in more of a teaching format. I highly recommend this book for both technologists and radiology residents. It will help make a lot of things make sense."

-The SMRT newsletter - Signals, Luann Culbreth, past President of the SMRT

JMRI: "Overall, this is an impressive textbook/tutorial that will be useful for most radiology residents and MR technologists preparing for their board examinations. This reviewer, who also has spent a considerable amount of time teaching these two audiences and preparing lecture material, clearly appreciates the significant effort, time, and enthusiasm that Dr. NessAiver put toward this work. The quality of the book directly demonstrates his commitment to teaching the fundamental concepts of MR through a well written, concise, and consistently detailed textbook. I remain enthusiastic about the book and now agree with the E-mail that I received from Dr. NessAiver several months ago that this book is excellent, useful, and probably one of the best values that residents or technologists will encounter in their introductory pursuit of an understanding of MR physics."

-Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, May/June 1997 , Jeffrey Duerk, Ph.D.

AJR : Goofy title. Quirky look - on the outside, the tome looks like one of those ad-hoc reports one receives when attending a marketing seminar (plastic spine and punch-hole binding, soft cover decorated using some do-it-yourself graphics, blank colored sheet inserts as chapter separators). On the inside, it looks like a classic handout — one finds there copies of transparencies (two per page) accompanied by some telegraphically sparse text and ruled space for student’s’ notes. The page layout follows the four-up look and feel, usually reserved for economy-printing of long documents using a laser printer. Is this a book? Not in the traditional sense of the word. The author seems to understand it, as every chapter follows its own page numbering scheme (in the form — n-mm, where n is the chapter’s number, and mm is the page number within the chapter). Each page bears a copy-right notice — the author is obviously trying to discourage people from copying this material.

Each of the 11 chapters has 10-15 pages, which translates into 20-30 transparencies per chapter. Using a rule-of-thumb value of 2 min of estimated oral presentation time needed per transparency, each chapter plainly corresponds to a single, 1-hr lecture. At first, I was ambivalent about reviewing this piece — it looked suspiciously like an attempt to sell to the public-at-large handouts for a limited-attendance course. Because not a lot of effort was spent at expanding the handouts into a full-fledged book format and the public did not have the opportunity to participate in the lectures themselves, this seemed a bit like an incomplete deal. This feeling was further strengthened by the author’s aggressive marketing efforts, both at the beginning (in the "How to Use This Book" section) and at the end (in Appendix C).

Once I overcame my initial misgivings and actually started working with the text (reading is not exactly a right word to use here), I changed my mind. The author knows what he is talking about and it shows. This is the first book on MR imaging physics I have seen that is free from annoying oversimplifications, slipups, and plain mistakes. This book handles several difficult issues with aplomb and in sight that provide a welcome distraction from the standard, orthodox views so prevalent in other books on the subject. All too often, the first attempt to explain a difficult issue in print becomes a mantra for later followers. All too often, one could pick up any book on MR imaging physics and read virtually identical descriptions of the same phenomenon. This text offers descriptions that are not only logical, easy to follow, graphically appealing, and correct but also quite often refreshingly different from standard approaches.

To my delight, I have found several nuggets of helpful information such as the description of MR echoes in chapter 7, the discussion of the Fourier transform in chapter 6 and the presentation of MR artifacts in chapter 11. This is the first text I have seen that not only tells the reader that gadolinium-based MR contrast agents predominately affect T1 contrast but also explains why (chapter 5).

As the author explains in the preface, this text grew out of a 12-hr MR course in physics for technologists studying for their registry examinations. If his students were able to absorb all of the material included in this handout in just 12 1-hr lectures, they must have passed their registry with flying colors! My own 10-year experience in teaching MR imaging physics to nonphysicists tells me that this goal is probably too ambitious. To achieve any significant retention of the MR concepts in the minds of an audience not accustomed to the ruthless logic of hard science courses requires a significant amount of time to be spent on discussion. A lot of time is needed to present and discuss a variety of examples to illustrate the interrelationships among different concepts. I don’t think 12 hrs is enough to do it right.

Anybody teaching MR imaging physics should get this book-o-handout — not for its appearance, which is iffy, but for its content, which is great. I will stop short of recommending the transparencies themselves, unless one is just putting the course together and wants to save time. I find incorporating someone else’s teaching materials into my own presentation does not usually work well — the design differences tend to create visual clashes that distract the audience. Here is hope that the sales of this quirky bookish handout will generate enough cash flow to convince the author to work with this material and publish a full-fledged book. It would be a pleasure to have one.
-American Journal or Roentgenology , April '98, Wlad T. Sobol Ph.D., University of Alabama Hospitals and Clinics, Birmingham, AL 35233
(This review was presented here with the permision of the American Roentgen Ray Society

"Your book is a gas, It doesn't lack class.
The MOTSA bit's cool, A real useful tool.
K-space is a breeze. Hahn Echo's a wheeze.
This Moriel Guy, Sure knows MRI.

-Unsolicited poem from satisfied customer, Andrew Mason, M.D., University of British Columbia, St. Paul's radiology

Preview the textbook or purchase your copy now.



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