In 1882 Nikola Tesla did a fundamental discovery in physics: the Rotating Magnetic Field. In 1971 Paul C. Lauterbur followed up with his Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, invention. After many years of research on July 3, 1977 in five hours the first MR image of a human body was made. Three years later the first commercial MRI scanner was introduced by FONAR Corporation.
This brief history of an extraordinary invention shows the development of a very important technique globally used in healthcare and almost every hospital these days. It has only been at the start of February 2017 that one of the inventors of MRI, Peter Mansfield, passed away. Thanks to him and Paul Lauterbur we are able to make use of an incredible invention. In 2003 Peter even got awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research that led to the development of MRI. Even though the personal reasons for having an MRI scan are unpleasant, it is a technology that can help out many people. It is one of the most advanced imaging solutions available, which you would probably not realize in the first place.
MR imaging is excellent at showing details in soft tissue; in particular bone marrow, cartilage, muscles, tendons and adipose tissue. Next to the unique imaging features, MRI offers an additional benefit when undergoing an MRI examination. In contrast with x-ray imaging, MR imaging lacks radiation. There are assumptions that for this reason MR imaging is less hazardous for your health and therefore MRI distinguishes from other imaging modalities. Besides this MRI scanners are even able to produce 3D images of the inside body.
People who have ever experienced an MRI scan will recognize the downsides. It does take a long time, comes with a lot of noise and the space is very tight and uncomfortable. However, it is a privilege the MRI technique is available. An MRI scan can help to diagnose a wide range of diseases such as brain tumors and injury, dementia, MS and stroke. It can also detect blockages and aneurysms. When the image is of high quality, detailed and without artifacts the next step can be taken to perform a proper treatment. Something that was inconceivable at this level fifty years ago.