January 27, 2000 -- Belmont, MA -- McLean Hospital has received more than $5 million in external grants and gifts to purchase a new multi-million dollar magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system for its Brain Imaging Center (BIC). The scanner is expected to be the only one in the world dedicated entirely to psychiatric and substance abuse research.

The 4.0 Tesla scanner, the latest imaging technology on the market, is expected to double, if not triple, the size of McLean’s brain imaging program over the next five years.

McLean investigators perform more than 2,000 brain imaging research studies per year, providing further insight into schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, dementia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The hospital’s five major areas of substance abuse research are: acute and chronic effects of cocaine, long-term effects of methadone maintenance, acute and chronic effects if heavy marijuana, effects of alcohol exposure on brain membranes, and new treatments for cocaine dependents.

"This new technology will tremendously advance our ability to use magnetic resonance to study brain chemistry and activity, said Perry Renshaw, MD, PhD, director of McLean’s Brain Imaging Center. "It will enable us to study smaller parts of the brain, to detect chemicals that are present in lower concentration and to study changes in brain activity that are much more subtle."

To purchase the magnet, McLean received a federal grant of $2.8 million from the Office of National Institutes of Health Center for Research Resources. The remaining $2.6 million was generated by private and corporate donors.

"Purchase of our new magnet is part of McLean’s continuing effort to remain at the cutting edge of research and its translation to better care," said Bruce Cohen, MD, PhD, president and psychiatrist in chief for McLean. "The support we have received for this project is testimony to the importance of our work and the quality of our investigators in the Brain Imaging Center."

The new magnet, which will augment McLean’s 1.5 Tesla scanner, is scheduled to be installed by the fall of 2000.

In 1999, McLean received $27 million in federal research funding, making it the largest recipient of federal funding of any private psychiatric hospital in the country.