What is MRI?

What is an MRI scan?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging.  MRI uses a large magnet and radio waves to give us pictures of the brain.  Sometimes people in hospital need to have MRI scans like these.  MRI can also show us what your brain is doing when you are thinking about something or when you listen to music or watch a movie.

How do MRI scans work?

Good question! This video tells you a bit more about how scans work. More information is also available on the Oxford Sparks webpage on MRI.

What can MRI scans tell us?

Functional MRI allows scientists to watch the brain in action. They can study the brain working in newborn babies and children, in healthy adults and in people with problems that affect their ability to move or see, to speak, to remember or to learn. They can see how the brain changes when it learns a new skill, such as reading or juggling, or how it compensates when someone recovers from brain damage. Brain surgeons can use MRI scans to help them plan surgery by seeing precisely which areas of the brain people use to produce speech or move.