ALEXANDER TSIARAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALEXANDER TSIARAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Infant aged 2 1/2 years about to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to investigate a congenital heart defect prior to planning corrective surgery. He is seen lying outside the scanner with his mother. In this child's case, a series of conventional 2-D MRI scans were assembled by computer to provide 3-D views of the defective heart. MRI, or NMR - nuclear magnetic resonance) provides images of soft tissues through studying the response of protons in the atoms of various tissues that are subjected to a strong magnetic field interrupted by pulsed radio waves. Unlike a CT (X-ray) scan, there is no radiation hazard.
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