A Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanner, or MRI, is a big magnet that is able to take pictures of your brain. It can do this because your brain is 73% water, and the magnet can tell the difference between "brain stuff" and "water stuff". Then, it shows us a picture of what your brain looks like on a computer. The best part is that all you have to do is lie down, watch movies, and play computer games!
- What is an MRI?
An MRI is a big camera that uses a powerful magnet to take pictures of different parts of the body. In this study we are interested in taking pictures of the brain. MRI allows us to see which areas of your child’s brain are most active when they are thinking. The MRI is widely used across the globe, and it is approved by the FDA to be used in adults and children. Since the MRI is a magnet, it is important that your child does not have any metal in his/her body that s/he cannot remove, such as braces, or metal implants, but we will make sure of this prior to enrolling you in the study. The MRI we use is for research purposes and it’s different than the ones used in hospitals to diagnose, therefore, it does not involve injections or ionizing radiation. Another cool thing about it is that at the end of the study you will get a souvenir picture of your child’s brain.
- Will this have side effects?
The MRI is approved by the FDA to be used in adults and children. It does NOT involve radiation or injections of any kind. Some people may experience dizziness or slight muscle twitching, similar as to what you experience when you have been lying down for a long time, but this is very rare. If your child feels any discomfort, s/he can tell the staff immediately.
- Is the MRI conducted at FIU or Nicklaus
The MRI is conducted on campus at the FIU Center for Imaging Science. It is located on the first floor of the parking garage you will be parking in. We will email you instructions on how to get there once we get closer to the appointment date.
- What should my child wear on the day of the MRI?
Please make sure your child wears warm, comfortable cotton clothing with absolutely no metal in it. S/he can wear a plain t-shirt and track/basketball shorts, sweat pants, or pants/jeans with plastic zippers and buttons. If it makes him/her feel more comfortable, they can wear their pajamas to scan day. In addition, we can provide scrubs for your child. We will also ask your child to remove all of his/her accessories (watch, jewelry, hair clips/ties) prior to entering the MRI scanning room. Avoid braids or ponytails for the MRI visit, if possible, as this can lead to head discomfort. The facility may feel cold for some people so please make sure to bring a sweater and an extra pair of socks for you and your child.
- What will my child do on MRI day?
The EMU team makes it a priority to ensure that children and their families have an easy, comfortable, and fun time while participating in MRI studies.
Before the study begins, your child will practice in our mock MRI room. The mock scanner looks and sounds like a real MRI, but does not actually take pictures of your brain. The mock scanner will allow your child to practice lying still so that the researchers can get nice clear brain pictures. The researchers will also play them the sounds that they will hear in the real MRI scanner, so they can get comfortable with those noises.
After your child practices lying in the MRI, the researchers will let them practice the task that they will be doing in the real MRI. They might listen to sounds, play games, watch short movies, or look at pictures.
After your child has practiced each part of the study, we will get ready to enter the real MRI. We have a special metal detector wand to make sure there is no metal in their clothes, because the MRI is a big magnet.
Our team will help your child get comfortable. It can get a little chilly in the MRI room, so we will give them a blanket to keep them warm. Once they are comfortable, the researchers will start taking pictures of their brain. Your child will play the game they practiced before, and watch a movie while we take more brain pictures.
After the games and movie, we will be done. We will ask your child to come again to do another MRI one week later.