More Accurate MRI Scans For Spinal Discs


Decay Variance

Will reduce rates of unnecessary surgery with its 9x lower false positive rate.

Our Story


Back pain is the leading cause of years lived with disability world-wide and about 1 in 6 Australians suffer from back pain every year. Despite being so common, in about 9 out of 10 cases doctors cannot diagnose where the pain is coming from.


Our diverse team of researchers have tackled this problem from all sides, as medical doctors, spine surgeons, radiologists, spine biolgists and medical imaging scientists.

In 2018 our researchers developed a new technique specifically for diagnosing spinal disc disease, based on benchtop science, which uses existing MRI scanners with no need for new hardware.




In laboratory testing in animals this new technique, called "Decay Variance", was superior to the two main techniques used today (called "T2 weighted imagining" and "quantitative T2 relaxometry") by almost every measure.


Decay Variance was faster, more reliably identified damaged discs, more reliably excluded healthy discs, and correlated more closely with the severity of damage. The overall "pairwise accuracy" of Decay Variance was 97% compared with just 70% for other techniques.


This research was awarded the Clayton Adam Memorial Award by the Spine Society of Australia at their Annual Scientific Meeting (Gold Coast, Australia, 2019), and an International Design and Innovation Award by the AO Foundation, Switzerland (2019).

Current Activities 

Pre-clinical laboratory and animal testing is now complete.


Enrolment in human validation studies opened in 2019 and recruitment is expected to be completed in 2023.


Other activities are focused on seeking regulatory approval.


Merunova does not currently market or provide Decay Variance (or any other product) to patients or clinicians for clinical use in humans.