Neuroimaging researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) are using the software to advance the study of brain function.

Research Systems Inc. (RSI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Eastman Kodak Company, announced that its IDL Software is being used by neuroimaging researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to advance the study of brain function. In addition to using IDL for on-going brain research, LANL's Biophysics Group used the IDL programming language to develop a software tool for viewing head data obtained using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The Biophysics Group's Human Brain Project is dedicated to noninvasive neuroimaging research to understand general brain function as well as aid clinical applications including neurosurgery planning, epilepsy and stroke recovery. A central goal of the project is to develop software tools that will help advance the understanding and treatment of mental disorders. According to a LANL lead researcher, the use of IDL has been instrumental in the development of the Biophysics group's non-invasive brain imaging MRIVIEW software.

Ranken selected IDL to help develop MRIVIEW software because of IDL's ability to handle the extremely large, multi-format files associated with medical image data. Medical image file sets can exceed a gigabyte in size, and IDL allows researchers to quickly display and visualize the data in meaningful ways. Ranken also cited IDL's multi-threading capabilities, flexibility and 3D graphics capabilities as key advantages.

MRIVIEW is used for viewing and manipulating volumetric MRI head data and for leveraging the MRI data as an anatomical reference in studies of brain function. MRIVIEW supplies methods for reading in raw MRI data, viewing this data in two and three dimensions, segmenting structures in the data, reconciling coordinate systems between the MRI data volume and data obtained from brain functional modalities, and viewing combinations of anatomical and functional information.

Ranken began using IDL in 1990 to map locations of brain activity obtained using magnetoencephalography onto brain anatomy and then display the data in a visual format. Today, he uses IDL for a number of other research applications to help neuroscientists, physicists, computer scientists, and other neuroimaging researchers better analyze and understand brain imaging data.