The MRI Center is looking for volunteers
to take part in imaging research studies

·        What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy?

·        What happens in a typical MR study?

·        Are there any risks involved?

·        What are the benefits?

·        Can anyone participate?

·        Where is the MRI Center?

·        What studies are going on and how do I sign up?


What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy?



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


What happens in a typical MR study?

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.


Are there any risks involved?

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.


What are the benefits?

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 MRI Center. The payment is typically set by the time spent in the study and maybe some additional compensation for travel. See the list of studies for the details. The reimbursement would be paid as a check that is mailed to you within 6 weeks after the study.

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.


Can anyone participate?

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.


Where is the MRI Center?

The MRI Center is at University of Miami Medical Center, 1115 N.W. 14th St, Miami. It is located near the Civic Center Metrorail station and there is complimentary parking available directly in front of the Center. If you park, please let the front desk know. Driving directions and additional information about the center can be found on the UM Medical Center web pages.


What studies are going on and how do I sign up?

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.


List of Ongoing Research Studies

MR Spectroscopy of Normal Human Brain:

This study is developing methods to measure the distributions of several compounds in the normal human brain. The data obtained in this project will be stored in a database that may be shared with researchers throughout the world. More information on this project can be found at

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 receive a modest remuneration for their time. 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:

  • A brief interview to confirm eligibility for the study. Normal subjects only for this study.
  • One or more MRI studies

If you are interested in participating in this study, please call 305-243-6838.