Monster Scanner in Action
New magnetic resonance tomographs are setting technical standards in imaging and allow detailed insights into the human body – including the brain.
In December 2017, a volunteer ventures where no human has gone before: inside the most powerful magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner ever built to examine humans. The device is located at the University of Minnesota's Center for Magnetic Resonance Research and consists of a four-meter-long tube around which a 110-ton electromagnet is wound. The scanner weighs about three times as much as a Boeing 737. Inside, 10.5 Tesla will act on the subjects – a magnetic field around 200,000 times stronger than that of the earth, which is shielded from the outside with 600 tons of iron. He has to remain motionless in the tomograph for an hour while it scans his pelvis for test purposes. The resulting image shows his wafer-thin cartilage tissue with unprecedented sharpness.
Doctors had already examined the volunteer's sense of balance a few days earlier. The scan could cause dizziness, and the research team must be able to precisely record and immediately classify this side effect. On the day of the test, the scientists present meticulously ensure that there is no metal on or in the man's body. Objects such as piercings, rings, metal implants or pacemakers could be ripped out of his body by the extremely strong magnet…