The MRI in Practice Course has been running since 1992, and over the years participants have commented that they would like some clinical technique included. I have always thought this to be a tricky thing to offer because scanners are all different, use different terminology, different acronyms, offer different techniques, have different field-strengths and radiologists all have their own preferences when it comes down to protocols. It seemed a waste of our time and your money to include clinical topics on the MRI in Practice Course. Another reason for my thinking, was that we used to help organise a very popular clinical radiology course back in the noughties (The Somerset MRI Course). This was a really fantastic clinical course, but as the years went by, we realised that as MRI grew older, most people could learn the job quite well without having to listen to outside experts - because by this time they probably had experts in their own departments. Some readers may be old enough to recall that when MRI started out, hardly anyone knew anything about anything in MRI, and people were happy just to meet someone who had done some scanning.
So what changed? In a word, COVID, and the necessity to provide safe online education. In 2020 we completely redesigned and updated the MRI in Practice course and as part of that process we realised that all manner of additional content could be included that participants could access at their leisure. At the same time I was thinking about creating a course for assistant practitioners in MRI. Something that would give them all the info they need about the basics of MRI and patient positioning for all of the commonly requested MRI exams. This year saw the publication of the new 5th edition of The Handbook of MRI Technique and Cathy suggested we use that as a template for a new course.
The lectures follow the structure of the book, but allow the inclusion of animated graphics, CGI positioning images and some more examples of common pathologies. The book contains more information about less commonly examined areas and also goes into more detail on some topics. The lectures are as follows:
HANDBOOK of MRI TECHNIQUE ONLINE LECTURE PROGRAMME
01. Fundamental principles of MRI (Dr. John Talbot)
02. Protocol Parameters and Tradeoffs (Dr. John Talbot)
03. MRI Pulse Sequences and Image Contrast (Dr. John Talbot)
04. The A-Z of MRI Artefacts (Dr. John Talbot)
05. Patient Care and MRI Safety (Dr. John Talbot)
06. MRI of the Brain (Dr. Catherine Westbrook)
07. MRI of the Spine (Dr Catherine Westbrook)
08. MRI of the Abdomen and Pelvis (Dr Catherine Westbrook)
09. MRI of the Upper Limb (Dr Catherine Westbrook)
10. MRI of the Lower Limb (Dr Catherine Westbrook)
Some readers might be wondering whether the "fundamentals" lectures (1-5) on the Handbook course are just edited versions of the equivalent lectures on MRI in Practice. Well I can reassure you that (with the exception of Artefacts and some of Patient Care) they are not. It wouldn't really matter if they were - because they are largely intended for a different audience, but more importantly - because we have decided to include the full handbook course completely free of charge to people attending the MRI in Practice course. Yes, really - you get the whole Handbook course for nothing!
Why would we do that (apart from being extremely generous people)? Well, because these lectures make really good revision sessions. Although they contain the same topics, they all offer a slightly different perspective from the MRI in Practice lectures. This is quite intentional, because (as any qualified educator will tell you) revision works really well if you hear about a concept from another person's perspective. For example, in the MRI in Practice course, Cathy deals with topics such as fundamental principles, gradient echo and protocol optimisation, in the handbook course you get a different perspective from my viewpoint. The topic of spatial encoding, on the MRI in Practice course is viewed through a "spatial frequencies" lens and uses a cool vector model devised by Prof. Donald Plewes. For the Handbook course I take a different approach and use a musical spectrum analysis analogy. If any of you have ever been the UKIO conferences you may have seen me present a lecture entitled "MRI in 15 Minutes" (in which I consistently fail to cover the whole of MRI in 15 minutes). That lecture forms the main part of the fundamentals lecture on the handbook course - but I have expanded it (I now fail to cover the whole of MRI in 30 minutes). So for most of these topics the handbook lectures offer new insights.
In addition, the new lectures now add that extra clinical-technique content that people have been requesting for years, but without taking up any time on the MRI in Practice Online course (because the new content can be streamed on-demand whenever the participants wish to watch it).
Importantly we also made sure that the lectures can work as a stand-alone course. We get quite a lot of enquiries from radiographers in developing nations who simply cannot afford to attend conferences and courses. In addition the MRI in Practice Online course uses DRM protection that precludes its availability in many global locations (like when you buy a DVD in the USA and it will not play in the UK - same idea). So we wanted a course to offer these applicants that was affordable and could be accessed on-demand. This version of the course is now available to anyone in the world (with the exception of countries who can access the MRI in Practice course who get it free as part of the deal).
If you live in Europe (including the UK), USA, Canada and Australasia the course is available as a free adjunct to MRI in Practice. If you have attended a course in previous years and would like to top up with the 5 clinical-technique lectures you can do so at www.mri-technique.online. There is a small charge to watch each lecture.
If you live in Africa, Asia (Including India and China) or South America. you can access the entire course from our new website www.mri-technique.online.
The website offers free registration to anyone in these countries and uses a pay-per-view system for the lectures. The lectures are presented in English. Credit packs can be purchased with discounts applied for the number of credits purchased. The entire course is currently offered at half-price (£25) as an introductory offer.
Finally - in light of the above, readers might be wondering why the new Handbook Course is not available as a stand-alone course in addition to MRI in Practice in the Europe, North America and Australia. The main reason is that it doesn't offer CPD at the moment and although it covers some of the same topics, the MRI in Practice Course goes X10 deeper into these subjects. We would therefore rather add extra value to our already established course rather than dilute our portfolio by offering confusingly similar products in the same countries. We do have some potential plans for next year, however. These will include a rebranded and augmented version of the course aimed at assistant practitioners.
Hope to see you on the course!