This review illustrates current applications and possible future directions of 7 Tesla (7 T) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in the field of brain MRI, in clinical studies as well as clinical practice. With its higher signal-to-noise (SNR) and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) compared to lower field strengths, high resolution, contrast-rich images can be obtained of diverse pathologies, like multiple sclerosis (MS), brain tumours, aging-related changes and cerebrovascular diseases. In some of these diseases, additional pathophysiological information can be gained compared to lower field strengths. Because of clear depiction of small anatomical details, and higher lesion conspicuousness, earlier diagnosis and start of treatment of brain diseases may become possible. Furthermore, additional insight into the pathogenesis of brain diseases obtained with 7 T MRI could be the basis for new treatment developments. However, imaging at high field comes with several limitations, like inhomogeneous transmit fields, a higher specific absorption rate (SAR) and, currently, extensive contraindications for patient scanning. Future studies will be aimed at assessing the advantages and disadvantages of 7 T MRI over lower field strengths in light of clinical applications, specifically the additional diagnostic and prognostic value of 7 T MRI.
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