Alan's MRI Page   updated Apr18

After becoming interested in MRI scanners (one of my many strange interests I have developed for no clear reason), I volunteered to have a couple of MRI scans they are truly amazing machines (see bottom of page for more info)
I had been interested in these machines for a while, so jumped at the chance to stick my head in Britain's biggest.
The MRI scanner has to be a contender for one of the most amazing inventions of all time, the way they produce an image with no moving parts and lots of clever tricks/maths is straight out of science fiction....

Here are some of the results:  click on the image for an animation of the full series



The above are from a 3 tesla MRI scanner, the standard type you are likely to see in a hospital.
The image below is from one of my scans on their 7 tesla scanner, one of the strongest field medical MRI scanners in the world I understand.
You can really see the difference in detail


I have been playing with some special software 3D-Slicer which lets you do all manner of clever things with the above type scans:
I have since found this software - MANGO - which whilst not as powerful is much easier to use
 A rather disturbing image of my head

 Rear view of my brain

This is the sort of thing which can be done by a professional

How MRI works

I found it pretty difficult to figure out the basics of how MRI scanners work; because it is of course a very complex subject but probably mostly because there is not much info out there that the lay person can understand.  It is well worth doing though as it is real fascinating stuff.  They involve super conducting magnets, quantum physics, near absolute zero temperatures and some mind blowing concepts.....what's not to like?
Of course to truly understand it all takes a super human brain, but to understand the basic concept of how they work can be done by anyone willing to find out.
- just a taster of how extraordinary they are; watch THIS animation of how the image is produced  (the actual result you get from an MRI scanner just looks like a strange splodge - this is called K-Space, each pixel in K-space relates to a simple sine wave, all these sine waves when added together produces the final image - all to do with fourier transform which is explained really well HERE)

Below are links to some good sources of info I did find - The video series is very good for how magnetic resonance works but I found it confusing when it came to the image scanning and traversing K space etc.
If there is enough interest in this page and people seem to be having the same problems I did understanding this, I may have a try at explaining it here - so let me know if this would be of interest/use at

I found these videos to be very good -

Some good info here -

more info here -

Wikipedia entry on MRI  I also found helpful -

Interesting Fact:  They used to be called N.M.R.I. standing for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging but the use of the word nuclear scared people as they don't understand what it actually means and so they were re named M.R.I..  It has been suggested that this name change has saved countless lives as it no longer put patients off going for the scan.

Misc Links

If you found this interesting, you may also like to have a look at my page on genetics - HERE

Mini documentary on MRI with Dr. Alice Roberts 

Structure of the brain

Stan's MRI links

Yale lecture on imaging

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