Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to generate images from within the body. These images primarily represent the distributions of water and they can show high quality images of the human anatomy. Radiologists routinely use this harmless technique for clinical diagnostic imaging purposes.
Magnetic Resonance can also be used to measure other chemicals within the tissue and this technique is known as MR Spectroscopy (MRS). When used for clinical studies this can provide information on the metabolism within specific tissues of the body, and it provides additional diagnostic information to that provided by MRI data.
You can learn more about MRI and MRS at http://www.ismrm.org/mr_sites.htm
For a typical MRI study, you will first be asked a number of safety-related questions, and to remove your shoes and any jewelry or clothing that may have any metal in. You will then be asked to enter the MRI instrument room and to lie down on a moveable table. For studies of the brain, your head will be placed in a cushioned head restraint and a plastic structure that surrounds the detector of the MRI system will be placed over your head. You will then be moved inside the magnet, which is well lit and ventilated. You will be able to speak with the operator via a microphone and loudspeaker at all times.
During the study you will hear repetitive knocking sounds. Since these can be quite loud, you will be given earplugs. Several types of images are obtained and you can expect to be in the scanner from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, during which time you must remain as still as possible; however, you will be able to rest, listen to music, or even sleep.
MRI has been safely used throughout the world for more than 25 years now, and the instruments used at the University of Miami MRI Center are widely available and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although considered to be safe, there may be some risks involved with having a MRI and not everyone can have a MRI exam because of these potential risks. For further information on these restrictions please read the section: "Can anyone participate?".
The greatest risk associated with MRI is the possibility that a magnetic object will accidentally fly into the magnet, or metal within the body will be moved, causing injury. Therefore, precautions are taken to prevent this from happening.
Having a MRI can be uncomfortable. In particular, you may feel claustrophobic, get bored, be upset by the loud noises, or just uncomfortable from lying still for a long time. If at any time you do not want to proceed, the study will be stopped.
Participating in any research may also involve some loss of privacy; however, you will be asked only a few questions that are necessary for the research and all research records are kept in a secure place. The MRI data will not have any identifying information in it, only a study code.
Specific concerns differ for each study and you can get more details on these and other potential risks by talking to one of the investigators in the projects listed below.
These research studies are aimed at improving the technology of MR and advancing future diagnostic imaging applications, and will not benefit you directly. However, participating in one of our research studies also gives you a unique opportunity to see for yourself how MRI works.
Depending on the study, you may be compensated for the time you spend at the
Your MRI scans will be seen by a trained technologist and in the very unlikely event that something unusual is seen in the images we would suggest that you visit your own physician.
Most people can have a MRI; however, there are restrictions:
MRI Safety Considerations: The following restrictions are necessary to minimize the possible risks and discomfort:
You must not have a cardiac pacemaker, hearing aid, or any other metallic
implant, such as pins, screws, plates, dentures, or non-removable jewelry, in
or on your body. Dental fillings do not present any concern, though.
The reason for this is that the magnetic field interferes with the proper functioning of pacemakers and metal implants may be pulled out of place. Metal jewelry may heat up and become uncomfortably warm. Other metallic items, such as coins, key rings, jewelry, and eyeglasses must be removed before entering the MR scanner room. You can put these in a locked cabinet during the MR study.
You must not participate if you are, or could be, pregnant. Although MRI is considered to be safe and is even used for clinical studies of pregnant women, there could still be potential risks to an unborn child that remain unknown, and therefore these research studies do not include these subjects.
You must be able to remain still for the entire period of the MR exam and it is crucial that you are not claustrophobic.
Because the space inside the MR scanner is narrow, people who are extremely large would find it uncomfortable, and therefore should not participate.
Healthy Subjects: Most studies using volunteers are looking to obtain data from healthy people. Therefore, we would not accept subjects that have had a major surgery, or known history of brain injury or disease, as well as some other medical conditions like a liver disease. Specific requirements differ for each study, and should be discussed with the researcher conducting the study.
If you are interested in signing up for a study there are several going on, and these are listed below along with the contact details and some brief information about the research being done.
Not all studies are active in recruiting subjects all the time, so to check on this and additional requirements, or to get information on each study, please call the telephone number provided with each study.
If you do sign up for a study, it is important that you arrive on time. There is a great demand for using the MRI instrument, and the time can be very costly. However, if you find you cannot make the scheduled appointment, just call the study investigator and let them know.
If you have been scheduled for a study, when you arrive, please tell the front desk if you used the complimentary parking, and also tell them that you are participating in a research study, and the name of the researcher.
This study is measuring the distributions of several compounds in the normal human brain and how these change with age. The data obtained in this project will be stored in a database that will be shared with researchers throughout the world. More information on this multi-site project can be found at http://midas.med.miami.edu.
We are looking for healthy men and women, age 18 to 60, to take part in this MR exam. It will take approximately 2 hours and subjects will be paid $20/hour. Subjects will not be accepted if they have had any brain injury or surgery, or any neurological disease or disorder, including for example, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, etc.
This study involves:
If you are interested in participating in this study, please call 305-243-6838.
This study is developing new methods to evaluate the severity of injury to the head following an accident. Currently, it is very difficult to provide the patients, as well as their families and friends, information about how much brain damage has occurred. Imaging using new the MRS methods may help with this evaluation. This study is being done in collaboration with researchers in the departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery. To provide comparative information from normal subjects, we are also looking for healthy men and women, age 18 to 40. The total participation time will be approximately 2 hours and subjects will be paid $20/hour for their participation.
This study involves:
If you are interested in participating in this study, please call 305-243-8096.