What is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique that utilizes various physics principles to take pictures of the brain. A powerful magnet (the circular tube structure) is used to align molecules. Radio waves are used to excite these molecules to produce a signal that is captured by the machine.
MRI is a frequently used imaging technique used for diagnosis and examination of a wide variety of clinical conditions. Unlike other scanning techniques, MRI does not use ionizing radiation, so there is no limit on the number of scans an individual can have.
What information can MRI provide?
Images acquired from these scans are useful in a variety of ways. Information on structure (sizes of different parts of the brain) and function (communication between different parts of the brain) can be obtained from these scans.
My child has already had a clinical MRI, what does research do that is different?
While parts of research MRIs capture similar data to clinical scans (anatomical structure), research scans also assess functional changes in the brain. Functional scans are not useful for clinical purposes but will hopefully lead to a better understanding of the pain disorders we study.