Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Technique used for discerning internal structures of a living individual. MRI is accomplished through the use of a chamber lined with magnets and possessing a radio antenna. The subject receives an injection of a dye (which provides for contrast between the different tissue structures); this is followed by placing the subject in the MRI chamber and generating a magnetic field. This action causes hydrogen atoms to release weak radio waves, received and amplified by the antenna, and computer software processes the data and provides an image of the brain. Aka functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

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