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MRI explained

Tim Taylor
Apr. 18, 2012
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MRI explained

  1. How does functional MRI work?
  2. What is a MRI? MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. A MRI scanner has a magnetic field that is 100,000 times as strong as Earth’s magnetic field!
  3. How does MRI work? Molecules with magnetic charges align with the strong magnetic field.
  4. How does MRI work? A radio frequency is used to tip these molecules over.
  5. How does MRI work? The speed at which molecules realign tells us about their surrounding tissue. We can use this information to make an image of the brain.
  6. How does functional MRI work? The brain contains neurons (“nerve cells”) that activate when we think. Neurons need sugar and oxygen to work their best.
  7. How does functional MRI work? Oxygen is carried to the brain by red blood cells. Red blood cells also carry iron in a molecule called hemoglobin.
  8. When you think… neurons fire and use oxygen red blood cells carry replacement oxygen to the neurons red blood cells also carry iron to the neurons and MRI can detect where the iron goes!
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