The MRI: The Only Thing That Judges Us By What's Inside

Ever wonder what your brain looks like? An MRI can show you!
How do MRI's use magnets to see your insides?

An Introduction
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, also known as an MRI, uses magnets to see your insides. An MRI is a screening test done to look at internal structures to identify and diagnose medical conditions. Dr. Raymond Damadian invented the MRI to create a noninvasive way to screen the body with the use of magnets. He successfully preformed the first MRI scan in 1977 (a procedure which took 5 hours!). Scientists and doctors have worked together since to create the MRI's we see in today's world.

The Original MRI Machine

How It Works
In order to function, MRI machines use the incredible power of magnetism. There are three large components that make this machine run. Two of them happen to be magnets and the other one is a coil. The largest magnet is called the primary magnet. Its purpose is to create a huge magnetic power. Our bodies contain several atoms. Every atom is polarized. This means that there is a north and a south pole on each atom. The electrons spin around the atom constantly. The spinning motion of electrons causes the atom to become magnetized and act like a coil with current running through it. The nonstop movement of electrons causes continuous motion of these mini magnets. However, when the large primary magnet is turned on, the electrons arrange themselves so that their magnetic field aligns with the primary magnet’s magnetic field. The primary magnet is turned off and healthy atoms will resume their nonstop motion, causing their magnetic fields to magnetize. Unhealthy atoms have a harder time randomizing. The unhealthy cells can be cancers and tumors. The process of turning the primary magnet on and off helps get an idea of where the slower moving masses are. Images are taken of the magnetic fields and are analyzed for finding the slower atoms in the patient. The other magnets are gradient magnets. There are three of these types of magnets. Their primary function is to isolate sections of the body that is being examined. These images can help detect cancer and save lives.

Diagram of a MRI Machine
Diagram of a MRI Machine

Why It's Important
The MRI is very important because it helps locate and identify problems in your body. These problems are ones that cannot be seen from the exterior of the body. MRI's can be taken of multiple parts of the body including the stomach, liver, pancreas, brain, heart, thyroid, adrenal glands, and the pituitary gland. They help both doctors and scientists identify problem with a bodily organ before it's too late. An MRI can be taken of a person to help an existing issue or possibly predict a future issue. Often times when a person has a stroke, MRI's are taken to monitor their brains and nervous system. The MRI is also very beneficial because it can help prevent problems with a person's heart or anything else in their circulatory system like blood clots. They also are helpful for monitoring arthritis or other joint and bone problems. One thing not many people know is that MRI's can be used along side mammograms to help identify breast cancer.

An Image Captured by an MRI Machine

A Conclusion
In conclusion, MRI's are very beneficial to society in both the medical and science fields. They have helped save many patients lives and have prevented many heath problems in patients. The MRI is truly an innovative technology and helps human accomplish something that cannot be done any other way. Without MRI's, we would not know a lot about specific conditions and how they affect the body.


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