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Friday, December 17, 2010

The Scanner's Prayer

MRI scanners have revolutionized medicine and provided neuroscientists with some incredible tools for exploring the brain.

But that doesn't mean they're fun to use. They can be annoying, unpredictable beings, and you never know whether they're going to bless you with nice results or curse you with cancelled scans and noisy data.

So for the benefit of everyone who has to work with MRI, here is a devotional litany which might just keep your scanner from getting wrathful at the crucial moment. Say this before each scan. Just remember, the magnet is always on and it can read your mind, so make sure you really mean it, and refrain from scientific sins...

*

Our scanner, which art from Siemens,
Hallowed be thy coils.
Thy data come;
Thy scans be done;
In grey matter as it is in white matter.
Give us this day our daily blobs.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass onto our scan slots.
And lead us not into the magnet room carrying a pair of scissors,
But deliver us from volunteers who can’t keep their heads still.
For thine is the magnet,
The gradients,
And the headcoil,
For ever and ever (at least until we can afford a 7T).
Amen.

(Apologies to Christians).

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