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1. What is MRI?
     Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a method of medical imaging meant for visualization of structure and functions of human body. Magnetic Resonance makes possible the examination in any plan, provides an excellent contrast between different types of tissues, is much better than Computed Tomography, becoming a vital method in neurological, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and oncological imaging.

     Unlike Computed Tomography that uses ionizing radiation, Magnetic Resonance uses a powerful magnetic field to align the nuclear magnetization of water hydrogen atoms from the human body. Radio frequency waves are used to change systematically the magnetization, making the hydrogen nucleus produce a revolving magnetic field which is detected by the “receiver coil” of Magnetic Resonance System. This signal can be modulated by additional magnetic fields to gather information required for the reconstruction of images of the human body.

     Other less common names of Magnetic Resonance are “Magnetic Resonance Imaging” and “Magnetic Resonance Tomography”. The basic principle of Magnetic Resonance is the realization of medical images of the internal organs of the human body using nuclear magnetic resonance. When a patient is placed in the magnet of a Magnetic Resonance System, the magnetization of spears of hydrogen nucleus (hydrogen is the most common atom in the human body due to the high water content, water chemical formula H2O) takes place when a flow of electricity of radio waves frequency passes through a circuit around the magnet (magnetic field gradient).


     Thus, a time-varying magnetic field is obtained in the patient’s body. This time-varying magnetic field disturbs the magnetization of spears of hydrogen nucleus, creating a transverse magnetization which is revolving in the magnetic field of the Magnetic Resonance System, generating a second time-varying magnetic field. This second time-varying magnetic field induces a radio frequency electric current in a circuit around the magnet (receiver gradient) thereby generating magnetic resonance signal that can be measured and evaluated.

History of Magnetic Resonance Imaging

     Early development of Magnetic Resonance Imaging correlates with the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1952 awarded to Felix Bloch and Edward Purcell, scientists who discovered magnetic resonance independently one from another. Their discovery has shown the property of the atomic nucleus, which has an odd number of nucleons revolving around of the atomic nucleus at a radio frequency in a magnetic field, radio frequency depending on the strength of the magnetic field. Thus these two scientists have suggested the use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging in the field of medical imaging.

     First prototypes of Magnetic Resonance were assembled in the 60s of the last century.

 

     In 1973 the American scientist Paul Lauterbur showed the first images obtained with Magnetic Resonance. In 1977 Sir Peter Mansfield was the first scientist who has demonstrated clinical images with Magnetic Resonance using magnetic field gradients and developed EPI imaging technique (echo-planar imaging), the first ultrafast method of Magnetic Resonance until nowadays. Paul Lauterbur and Sir Peter Mansfield received in 2003 the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for their contribution in the field of NMR Imaging of internal organs of the human body.

     SIEMENS MEDICAL SOLUTIONS was among the top global manufacturers of magnetic resonance equipment for medical use. Already in the late 70s of the last century SIEMENS installed Magnetic Resonance equipment of 0.2Tesla magnetic field strength in hospitals. Currently SIEMENS is the world leader and produces the most modern and efficient Magnetic Resonance Systems of 1.5T (Tesla) magnetic field strength; Magnetic Resonance Systems of 3.0T magnetic field strength are less used and the systems at a field strength of more than 3.0T are used for scientific research.
 

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