What is MRI/fMRI?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and uses a large magnetic field to create images of the body. fMRI, which is a type of MRI measures signal changes in the brain due to different types of sensations or activity.

Are there any side effects to fMRI?

Currently there are no known health risks caused by the MRI. However since MRI uses a large magnetic field there are certain objects that cannot go into the scanning room. You will be asked to fill out a clearance form before being allowed into the MRI area. It is important that you fill out this form honestly so that we can ensure your safety.

You must also remove all objects from your pockets, including but not limited to: wallets, I-Pods, cell phones, jewelry, piercings, watches, hearing aids, keys, eye glasses, hair pins/barrettes and money.

Tattoos above the knee can also be effected by the MRI so be certain to tell the Researcher if you have one.

The most common complaint of the scanner is the noise associated with the scan and the fact you are required to stay very still.

What will the experiment entail?

Each experiment is different based on what the investigator is looking at. Some experiments will use visual stimuli while other will use audio stimuli or both. Please refer specific questions about the study to the Researcher who scheduled you.

What should I expect inside the scanning room?

The first thing you will do is go over your clearance form with the MRI Technologist to make sure you are able to enter the MRI scanning room. Once inside we will have you remove your shoes and give you ear plugs to help with the scanning noise. You will lie on our MRI table and place your head in a coil. Next we will provide you with a headset that will be used to communicate with you throughout the study. At this point, please try to get as comfortable as you can.

It is extremely important to stay as still as you can while in the scanner. We will use wedges in the coil to help stabilize your head.

Finally, we will put you into the MRI tube with your head resting in the center of the machine. You will also be given an emergency ball if at any time you would like to be removed from the scanner.

The lights will dim and we will start the exam. At this point you will hear the machine make noise.

Where do I go on the day of the experiment?

For each study a meeting place might be different. Please check with your investigator before your exam.

If you are unable to reach your investigator you can meet at the SCAN Center (printable directions), 15 minutes before your scheduled timeslot.

What do I need to do to prepare for scanning?

1. If you wear glasses, please change to your non-colored contact lenses. If you do not wear contacts we will provide you with plastic MRI safe glasses. If you require these please bring your prescription with you.
2. Wear comfortable clothing with no ferro-magnetic metal. (zippers and buttons on jeans are o.k.)
3. Do NOT wear any type of makeup to the exam. Refrain from using blush, eye shadow, eye liner and mascara.
4. Do NOT use any gel or wax in your hair. If you have dreadlocks, braids or any beads in your hair they will have to be removed before being scanned.
5. All piercings must be removed prior to the study.

What happens if I need to cancel?
If you know you have to cancel, please do so at least 48-24 hours ahead of time. That gives the researchers time to find someone else, otherwise, they will have to pay for the scan even if you don’t show up. ┬áThis cost can be upwards of 700 per hour.

How do I sign up for a study?

Check out the studies currently being run at the SCAN center to see if you are eligible for them. To view current studies please see Publications/Studies.

If interested please contact the studies lab for more information.