Magnetic Resonance

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Magnetic Resonance

Who invented MRI and what is it used for?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging?

Advantages and Disadvantages

MRI is a test that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to form detailed images of what is being scanned. Magnetic waves bounce off tiny protons in water molecules that are in the body and the signals received from millions of protons build-up to form the detailed image.

How does MRI work and how is it used in biology?

The MRI scans work by activating the protons in the water molecules that are part of the human body. These protons are like tiny magnets and so when the body is put into a powerful magnet like the MRI, these protons get activated and line up in the body. After radio waves are sent to certain body parts and the protons move out of alignment. Then when radio waves are turned off, the protons realign since they are magnets and send out radio signals. These signals provide information about exact locations of the protons and this is how the detailed images are created. MRI is used in biology in a lifesaving way because it allows doctors to see what the problem is before the problem kills the person. This is an amazing part of science that has saved many lives. Doctors are able to see many parts of the human body like the brain to see if there are any tumors and the growth of them or why someone may be having knee pain. It also allows doctors to see the heart and the flow of blood through blood vessels which is actually called Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA).

There are many advantages based on the MRI machine. The MRI is a harmless machine to patients especially because there is no radiation which is also good for the environment. It is very suitable for all patients considering pregnant women and also little kids. It is also a very detailed scanner and is able to pick what other machines like CT scan machine may leave behind. There are still some disadvantages with the MRI machine. If you do not have healthcare it can be up to 2,000 to get a scan. That is very expensive and also a disadvantage to people who might not be able to afford it. MRI machines may not be available everywhere because it is quite expensive and even if it is, it may take a lot of time to be able to get a scan. Sometimes it takes up to 4 months just to get a scan because the waiting period is so long. It is also a disadvantage to people who are claustrophobic because to get the scan you have to lay down in a cylinder which is not so spacious.

MRI scan of head

Before it was called MRI it was actually called NMR which is Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and this was found by Felix Bloch and Edward Purcell in 1930. Then after in 1971, Raymond Damadian used the NMR to scan the human body and a revolutionary change in this machine had happened because it was able to study diseases like cancer. After this, the most significant advancement that took place in 2003 by Paul Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield was their discovery of using the MRI as a diagnostic tool. This specific machine has allowed many scientist to be able to receive Nobel prizes and is a huge part of science today.MRI scans are used to see detailed images inside the body and help patients by looking at what the problem may be. It can be used to look at infections, injuries, tumors, diseases and many other things. Many patients lives are saved everyday just because of MRI's because at many times, other scans are not able to pick up what MRI scans do.


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