The MRI machine is rather big, rather loud (I wore headphones), and...rather claustrophobic—but it operates on a rather GENIUS principle! My brain was imaged every two seconds; eventually, the images will be overlaid to create a complete picture of my brain, so it was important that I remain very still.
Some of you may have undergone an MRI so a doctor could examine a particular body part due to injury or to diagnose a problem. The MRI machine works on the principle of magnetism; essentially, the images you're seeing are comprised of the nuclei of the atoms in your body.
A radio frequency transmitter is repeatedly turned on and off, which produces an electromagnetic field and causes the protons to spin in the opposite direction. This change causes a radio frequency signal to be generated, and is detected by coils in the machine.
Contrary to popular belief, the MRI is a very safe procedure that does not give off ionic radiation (like X-rays).
The images are taken in slices beginning from the outside and working its way in—that's why my brain structures look smaller or bigger in some areas, and why my nose doesn't show up until the end. And now, without further ado, the brains behind 'Gaines, on Brains':
Pretty cool, huh?
Images courtesy Heart Healthy Women, Space Inspired, and PSU Hershey NMR Center.