The utilization of high-field MR systems for clinical spectroscopy studies involves a variety of improvements and advantages which anable the use of new and advanced acquisition techniques that raise the diagnostic accuracy of MR spectroscopy above the desired threshold. At the same time, the higher field strength can also carry disadvantages and limitations that may degrade its usefulness. At the time of the introduction of clinical 3.0 T scanners, results were often unsatisfactory and performances for some applications were poorer than those obtained with the well-optimized clinical 1.5 T scanners. However, most problems with 3 T systems have been or are being addressed by the research community and the manufacturers with the development of sophisticated technical strategies, pulse sequences and/or processing algorithms.
Higher field strength will improve MR imaging thanks to the greater SNR, but will also experience some image degradation due to the increased frequency distance between fat and water. By contrast, MR spectroscopy will gain from both the increased SNR and the increased spectral resolution. Thus spectrosco-py is and will be one of the key applications of MR systems with field strength of 3.0 T and above, despite the current problems. The various strategies illustrated above should allow these problems to be overcome and make higher magnetic field scanners the workhorse for all brain MR applications in the near future.
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