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Frequent MRI Scanner Exposure Might Affect Memory: Study

Posted 30 Aug 2012 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Aug. 30 – Exposure to magnetic fields generated by MRI scanners may lower a person's mental skills, according to a small new study. The effects were most noticeable in tasks that required high levels of working memory, which could have implications for surgeons and other medical staff who work within the vicinity of MRI scanners, the researchers said. The study was published online Aug. 29 in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Along with radio waves, MRI uses strong magnetic fields to obtain detailed images of the brain and spine, explains a journal news release. Three types of magnetic fields – static, switched gradient and radiofrequency – are used to create an MRI image. Even when no imaging is taking place, the static magnetic field is always present. Thirty volunteers completed the study. All were exposed to an MRI static magnetic field of zero, 0.5 ... Read more

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