Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI gives many medical professionals the ability to access many patients’ physiological issues, allowing for a more accurate treatment approach. Often partnered with Computed Tomography (CT), MRI units are nowadays ubiquitous in many professional hospitals and state-of-the-art clinics. But where exactly did MRI technology start, and how did it gain prominence?
This article will discuss two MRI-based history facts to help you better appreciate diagnostic imaging as a vital aspect of modern medicine. Take this as an opportunity to educate yourself better, your team, and immediate patients. This way, you help them be more informed about the benefits of different medical innovations and look forward to further innovations in diagnosis!
Fact #1: The MRI is a complex piece of medical equipment with no single inventor!
When we first learn about different scientific inventions, our teachers would lead us to a single person who made it. For instance, we would always identify Alexander Graham Bell for the invention of the telephone. However, this indirect syllogism is not the case for the MRI as there is no single inventor credited with its development. Instead, there are many innovative minds from different fields that lead to creating the modern-day MRI units we know today!
Setting the foundational steps for technological innovation is necessary to give recognition to Nikola Tesla and Galileo Ferraris, especially for diagnostic imaging. They are responsible for discovering the rotating magnetic field seen in an AC motor, which was developed around the late 19th century. This scientific innovation is so important that most MRI technicians use Tesla as a measurement unit of the magnetic field’s strength.
In 1977, the foundations for MRI technology were developed by inventor Raymond Damadian. He applied the rotating magnetic field concept with Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) to locate tumors from a patient’s tissues. Later on, he used NMR-based readings to diagnose cancer by scanning the whole body.
Finally, it was thanks to chemist Paul Lauterbur who gave life to the modern rise of the MRI as he applied Damadian’s NMR assertions in his research of diagnostics and medical treatment. He utilized magnetic resonance trends to examine solids and molecular structures that led to the MRI unit’s development.
Different medical technology companies produce state-of-the-art MRI units, such as the Toshiba Vantage XGV and Phillips Achieva 3T. Only time will tell what the next step of MRI technology will be.
Fact #2: Oxford Instruments developed the superconducting magnets for the MRI
As you probably surmised from the previous fact, MRI technology uses medical-grade magnets, making accurate medical imaging and diagnosis possible. The main component using the magnetic field is the large cylindrical bore with superconducting coils and wires with no electrical resistance.
These important MRI components were created by Oxford Instruments, which is a company interested in scientific research. However, modern-day MRI developers also recognize a safety risk associated with the high-electric generation and intense magnetic fields. That’s why MRI units are fitted with a two-step mechanical refrigeration system. Alternatively, some also use liquid helium to cool off the superconductors, controlling the electromagnetic currents effectively.
MRIs are indeed an innovative piece of medical technology often taken for granted. Fortunately, you now know more about them and have a better appreciation for their use in modern-day healthcare. Remember all the previously mentioned facts and ensure your patients get the medical solutions they need!
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