Background Facts

Imaging Techniques

Who proposed using magnetic resonance imaging for diagnostic purposes?

The concept of using MRI to detect tumors in patients was proposed by Raymond Damadian (1936–) in a 1972 patent application. The fundamental MRI imaging concept used in all present-day MRI instruments was proposed by Paul Lauterbur (1929–) in an article published in Nature in 1973. Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield (1933–) were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2003 for their discoveries concerning magnetic resonance imaging. The main advantages of MRI are that it not only gives superior images of soft tissues (like organs), but it can also measure dynamic physiological changes in a noninvasive manner (without penetrating the body in any way). A disadvantage of MRI is that it cannot be used for every patient. For example, patients with implants, pacemakers, or cerebral aneurysm clips made of metal cannot be examined using MRI because the machine’s magnet could potentially move these objects within the body, causing damage.


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