Sunday, June 13, 2010


Magnetic resonance imaging or scanning (also called an MRI) is a method of looking inside the body without using surgery, harmful dyes or x-rays. The MRI scanner uses magnetism and radio waves to produce clear pictures of the human anatomy.

MRI is based on nuclear magnetic resonance or NMR, in which magnetic fields and radio waves cause atoms to give off tiny radio signals.

In 1970, Raymond Damadian, a medical doctor and research scientist, discovered the basis for using magnetic resonance imaging as a tool for medical diagnosis. He found that different kinds of animal tissue emit response signals that vary in length, and that cancerous tissue emits response signals that last much longer than non cancerous tissue.

Less than two years later he filed his idea for using magnetic resonance imaging as a tool for medical diagnosis with the U.S. Patent Office, entitled "Apparatus and Method for Detecting Cancer in Tissue." A patent was granted in 1974, it was the world's first patent issued in the field of MRI. By 1977, Dr. Damadian completed construction of the first whole-body MRI scanner, which he dubbed the "Indomitable."

His invention was able to locate cancerous tissue without producing an image. His method was later replaced with other methods, because it was not reliable and effective enough. Therefore, in 2003 the Nobel Prize for MRI with pictures was awarded to Paul Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield

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