MRI Marketers? The Not So Typical Uses For Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Your doctor orders an MRI. You already know it's a safe type of imagining scan that allows the medical pros to see inside of your body using the power of magnets – instead of radiation. But, what else are these scanning machines used for? Along with patients, participants (that is, research participants) are getting into magnetic resonance imagining machines. Why? In the name of science! Check out these not-so-everyday uses for MRIs that might surprise you.

Musical Maven

When violist Jennifer Koh suffered a concussion she lost the ability to practice her instrument for months. When she could finally play, it was only for 20 minutes at a time. The musician wanted to know what was going on. So, she took to an MRI. Researchers at Duke University studied the concert violinist's brain while she listened to music. The results showed a unique activity pattern as she listened to classical works. Koh's scan also showed that her brain's areas that are responsible for planning movements were active – even though she was in the scan, and not actually playing music at the time.


Way back in the early 1950s scientists discovered that the brain had a "pleasure center." Modern day marketers use this idea to figure out how consumers make choices and which products they enjoy. Neuromarketing uses MRIs and other brain monitoring tests to track neural activity (i.e., what the brain is doing). This might mean showing an ad or a product while conducting an MRI. The results can tell researchers which areas of the brain are at work while seeing the product. More specifically, scientists can track if seeing the product lights up the brain's "pleasure center."

Video Game Play

Are video games bad for children and teens? There are plenty of opinions out there, but what about the facts? MRI scans allow researchers to look at the brains of teens who play video games regularly, tracking changes and comparing them to the brains of people who play less. In a Chinese study, researchers found that college-aged kids who spent 10 hours a day playing online games actually had less gray matter than those who spent under two hours a day in game play. That said, a Polish study found that avid video game players actually had more gray matter than their non-gamer counterparts.

Yes, an MRI is most commonly used as a diagnostic tool. But, that doesn't mean scientists aren't using it for plenty of other reasons. From learning about how the brain processes music to understanding what video game play does to the mind, magnetic resonance imagining has uses that go well beyond the "typical."

For more information, contact companies like Omega Diagnostic Imaging PC.