Looking Inside the Body with Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, popularly known as MRI, is a technique used in the medical field of radiology. It is used to capture pictures of the physiological processes and the anatomy of the body.

This article will explain how MRI technology works and its impact in the modern field of neuroscience.

What Is An MRI?

The scanners in Magnetic Resonance Imaging use strong magnetic field gradients, magnetic fields, and radio waves, which help to generate organ images. It is an imagining technology that is non-invasive and builds up detailed three-dimensional anatomical images. It is used for diagnosis, disease detection, treatment monitoring, etc.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a safe and painless procedure that can be used to take images of the brain as well. With the help of MRI scanning very comprehensive pictures and images of the human brain and the changes that occur from birth to adolescence and into old age can be taken.

What Impact Do MRI’s Have?

There are many practices such as “parcellation,” which measures the volume of the brain structures, showing the changes that occur throughout life. The growth that occurs in the brain in terms of structure, stems, etc can be compiled and studied to see if normal trajectorial development is taking place or not. In addition to these, computational anatomy ways are used to map the spatial patterns of the growth that is happening in the brain and tissue loss in children individually.

MRI’s also help to monitor the changes taking place in the cortical features, including asymmetric changes or grey matter thickness. Individual readings and results can then be compiled to make dynamic time-lapse movies or statistical maps that help in the conclusion in terms of brain development.

Studies such as longitudinal studies of the brain that comprises of children scanned regularly with structural MRI at an interval of 2 years for up to 10 years. These studies are important in comparing MRI of brain data of different groups differing with respect to gender, age, developmental disorders, etc. With the help of these studies/approaches, several unsuspected links between development and cognition are discovered. These studies can also discover environmental factors and genetic factors that affect brain development.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging helps in mapping the brain, charting the anatomical pattern of healthy brain development and maturation, and comparing studies about how it is derailed in neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, etc.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging is be used to detect conditions of the brain, for example, brain tumours, brain cysts, brain clot/bleeding, brain developmental and structural abnormalities and many other problems. If for any reason there are some operations done on the brain then MRI can be used to monitor the brain and see if the devices such as shunt are working or detect damages caused to the brain by any accident or any other trauma.

From birth to 2 years of age in humans there is a large amount of brain development, MRI is used to map the development and see if the development is taking at a normal pace or not. Overall, they have had a lasting impact on the medical field, as doctors and medical professionals now have the ability to non-invasively gain access to the brain and other internal organs in order to study them and better treat any possible disorders.


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Image credit: https://www.euronews.com/next/2021/07/23/potentially-life-saving-study-could-cut-labelling-times-for-mri-scans-from-years-to-minute


About the Author

Aalika Malik

Guest Writer for The Hope Project

Aalika is a psychologist in the making with a passion for working for the betterment of society. She hopes to work towards removing the stigma that surrounds the concept of mental wellness.

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