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Cycling Champ Pedals Inside An MRI Scanner

November 18, 2013
Written by: , Filed in: Cardiac Imaging, Diagnostic Imaging
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“Keep pushing.” That’s the message that champion bicyclist Cadel Evans scrawled, along with his signature, on an MRI machine at The Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane, Australia.

Evans, who in 2011 became the first Australian winner of the famed Tour de France race, had just finished pedaling an exercise bike while lying on his back inside the machine. A superfast Siemens scanner fed real-time images of his beating heart to researchers huddled around computer monitors in the next room. (For video, click here.)

Researcher Andre La Gerche, MBBS, PhD, said learning how an elite athlete’s body performs under exercise conditions could help improve treatment of those whose bodies don’t function at such a high level:

By understanding how the heart and lungs operate when they are working really well in athletes, we can understand what’s not working correctly in patients with heart and lung disease.

Dr. La Gerche is a cardiologist at St. Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia, and a research fellow at the University of Melbourne. He was quoted in a Siemens news release.

Cadel, 36, said he was happy to help. “Since becoming a dad I’m very conscious about my health and of ensuring that Australia has the best quality health care system for the future,” he said. “Heart Foundation of Australia figures show that one person dies from heart or lung disease every 24 minutes—about the same time it takes me to complete a short time trial. I hope this technology and research will ultimately save lives.”

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