Metals in medicine
Metals in medicine

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Metals in medicine

3 Anatomical imaging using MRI

The potential of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to be applied to investigations of the human body was recognised soon after the technique was developed in the 1940s. But its use as an imaging technique to visualise anatomy was first shown to be practicable in the 1970s.

Since then, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become an astonishingly common procedure.

For example, figures released by the National Health Service in England reveal there were 2.4 million MRI examinations carried out during the financial year 2012/13.

The following quotation from MRI from Picture to Proton (Cambridge University Press) illustrates both the complexity and the utility of the technique:

MRI involves an amazing combination of advanced science and engineering, including the use of superconductivity, cryogenics, quantum physics, digital and computer technology – and all within the radiology department of your local hospital (Robbie et al., 2007).

  • Can you suggest why MRI is potentially less harmful to patients than CT?

  • Unlike X‑ray-based diagnostics such as CT, MRI does not expose patients to potentially harmful ionising radiation.

A typical MRI scanner is shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5  A clinical MRI instrument.
s315_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371