Magnetic resonance imaging

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There is more information available on this subject at Magnetic resonance imaging on the English Wikipedia.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is primarily a medical imaging technique most commonly used in radiology to visualize the structure and function of the body. It provides detailed images of the body in any plane. MRI provides much greater contrast between the different soft tissues of the body than computed tomography (CT) does, making it especially useful in neurological (brain), musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and oncological (cancer) imaging. Unlike CT, it uses no ionizing radiation, but uses a powerful magnetic field to align the nuclear magnetization of (usually) hydrogen atoms in water in the body. Radiofrequency fields are used to systematically alter the alignment of this magnetization, causing the hydrogen nuclei to produce a rotating magnetic field detectable by the scanner. This signal can be manipulated by additional magnetic fields to build up enough information to construct an image of the body.

Handheld MRI machines exist in the twenty-sixth century, and Dr. Catherine Halsey kept one in a medical field kit she made after fleeing CASTLE Base.[1]

  1. ^ Halo: First Strike, page 140 ("In her tiny medical field kit, the doctor had a handheld MRI")