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Mallard MRI body scanner, Aberdeen, Scotland, 1983

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John Mallard and his research team at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary used a machine like this in 1980 when they obtained the first clinically useful image of a patient’s internal tissues using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Mallard’s team, based at the University of Aberdeen, was responsible for technological advances that led to the widespread introduction of MRI. MRI is considered to be a safer diagnostic tool than X-rays and is more suitable for soft tissue. MRI builds up a picture of the human body by using high frequency radio signals. Made by M&D Technology Ltd, a company set up by John Mallard, this machine was used at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, from 1983 to 1993.

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    Techniques and Technologies:


    Glossary: MRI

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). A technique for producing high quality images of internal organs and tissues. MRI uses radio waves to achieve its results. It is particularly effective in detecting cancers.

    Glossary: MRI body scanner

    A machine used to perform Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans upon patients. The machine allows the process to take place without exposing the patient to harmful radiation.

    Glossary: radio signals

    A code or message delivered via a radio or interpreter most often in the form of sound.

    Glossary: Mesmerism

    Based on the theories of Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815). Claimed he could heal people based on his theory of animal magnetism. This fluid flowed through living things but when it became blocked, it caused disease. Treatment was holding magnets over specific parts of the body. His ideas were unfounded.