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MRI scans live birth

The Local · 7 Dec 2010, 14:04

Published: 07 Dec 2010 14:04 GMT+01:00

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A team comprised of obstetricians, radiologists and engineers have built an “open” MRI scanner that allows a mother-to-be to fit fully into the machine and give birth there, the hospital announced on Tuesday.

The MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner has already taken unique images of the body of a mother and the movement of her baby through the birth canal to the point where its head emerges into the world. The birth that took place in the scanner went smoothly and both mother and baby were in good health, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The birth was the culmination of a two-year project by the research team. MRI uses powerful magnets to magnetise some atoms in the body which makes them detectable to radio waves. Importantly, it can make cross-section images of a subject, showing intricate detail of soft tissue and bones in the body.

The team built a special “open MRI” scanner, a new type of machine whose open structure had the necessary space for the mother to give birth.

The new machine will enable the researchers to study in greater detail how the baby moves through the mother’s pelvis and down the birth canal – issues that have long been studied and debated. The hospital’s Institute for Radiology and Obstetrics Clinic will work closely together on the project.

Story continues below…

Among other benefits, it should help researchers to understand why about 15 percent of pregnant women need a Caesarian section because the baby does not progress properly into the birth canal.

The Local/dw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:34 December 7, 2010 by PollySkinFold
Just great......

Wonder how long this little baby will live before dying of some radiation disease.

Was this Really necessary?

15:48 December 7, 2010 by waremi@tabinc.com
First - an MRI does not use radiation

Second - considering the hundreds of women and tens of thousands of infants that die during childbirth each year, I would definitely consider understanding this process to be really necessary.
15:51 December 7, 2010 by Alofat
@PollySkinFold: Get a life, or maybe an education, so that you realize what an idiotic statement you just made. Just to get you started, MRI = Magnetic resonance imaging, no radiation involved...
15:52 December 7, 2010 by capecrusader
Ahhhhhh, I didn't sign up fast enough, waremi beat me to it. MRI's don't have radiation and the medical knowledge gained is much greater than any risk caused by an MRI. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_resonance_imaging
16:43 December 7, 2010 by Kayak
Hey, check out that eyeball! "Mars Attacks" anyone?

So, I'm insensitive.

16:44 December 7, 2010 by aceroni
Come on guys, just wait until PollySkinFold is coming back saying that magnetic fields cause leukemia...
18:11 December 7, 2010 by Elsie66
Haddassah may need to update his/her general knowledge. Babies are naturally born facing the back and who says that women must give birth laying on their backs?
18:19 December 7, 2010 by SWB123

There IS radio wave "radiation" involved in an MRI.

While there may be no X-Ray, Beta, or Gamma particle radiation during an MRI, everything from sound waves going up through visible light and on up to the highest radio waves that man can detect is considered part of the 'electromagnetic' scale of "radiation". Before one can conclude, that any amount of "radiation" is harmful you must first know the type of "radiation" involved, the power level / intensity, distance from the source, and the time of exposure.

Any given amount of "radiation exposure" has a biological threshold, which if NOT crossed does not cause physical harm. This "harm" can be viewed in real time through a microscope in a petri dish. Thus the manufacturer knows what levels of operation of their imaging machines are "safe". Some types of imaging equipment do cross that line, even in it's normal operation, but the trade off is that that the risk of that particular "harm" is considered minuscule, compared to the knowledge gained about the disease being detected.

Now, whether or not any given piece of equipment is calibrated correctly is another matter all-together. However, getting an overdose of radio waves in an MRI is quite a bit more difficult to do, as opposed to a CT just due to the nature of the equipment and the type of "radiation" involved. It is possible, but highly improbable.
19:13 December 7, 2010 by iseedaftpeople
one question - WHY?

Do these images have any scientific merit, or were they just taken "because they could"? Were some doctors getting seriously bored and thought this would be a cool thing to do?

I simply do not see the point.
19:32 December 7, 2010 by Mom2001

If you had been in labor for 18 hours and then had a c-section you might understand the point. I was completely dilated and still could not deliver "normally" If something like this could have helped the Dr. understand more of what was going on and spared me that extra time in labor I would have embraced it gladly!
19:49 December 7, 2010 by ReaderX
No effects of MRI on the fetus have been demonstrated.[54] In particular, MRI avoids the use of ionizing radiation, to which the fetus is particularly sensitive. However, as a precaution, current guidelines recommend that pregnant women undergo MRI only when essential.


I'm just saying.
21:12 December 7, 2010 by Landmine
Is it just me or does that baby look like Homer Simpson??????
21:18 December 7, 2010 by lordkorner
Sheeet Landmine you beat me to it,I was however going to say Maggie .
21:29 December 7, 2010 by iseedaftpeople
lol... D'ohh!!
21:52 December 7, 2010 by frigitar
@SWB123: Actually that's wrong. Sound waves are NOT a form of electromagnetic radiation. They are physical waves and hence need a medium to travel in, unlike other EM Waves.

Also why you never hear someone (hehe, i know) say that "the sound radiated" rather its propagated.
22:39 December 7, 2010 by nursingstudent
That baby actually is in the correct position for delivery. Check out the research for the cardinal movements of labor, and baby positioning during pregnancy
00:47 December 8, 2010 by midia
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
03:32 December 8, 2010 by Blaise
@ Midia: I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who supports the abortion of a baby during labor. You'd have to be an incredibly sick individual to really believe that because someone has a view you don't understand that automatically makes them a propagator of child murder.

I think this is a great feat of science, hopefully it'll help reduce the rates of mother and child mortality in child birth.
04:54 December 8, 2010 by birthingathome
While an alternative birthing position is entirely possible, I think the reason the spine is appearing "up" is b/c most babies are born face down, so to help the viewer understand what they were looking at, they likely just flipped the pic.
09:01 December 8, 2010 by effinmagnets
@PollySkinFold http://memegenerator.net/Insane-Clown-Posse/ImageMacro/860487/Insane-Clown-Posse-fuckin-magnets-how-do-they-work.jpg

17:28 December 8, 2010 by drbobwoolery
If studies in various birth positions are done, we may be able to sound the death knell for routine birthing in the dorsal lithotomy position, closing the birth canal with pressure on the sacrum.
19:36 December 8, 2010 by John2U
First of all, the use of medical x-rays during pregnancy has been a mainstay for diagnosis. The x-ray examination of the maternal outlet to the size of the fetal head is determined during Pelvimetry. I have performed hundreds if not thousands of Pelvimetries. Nevertheless, this information is now delivered by ultrasound examinations in a modern medical environment.

What we thought that we knew about the radiation of living humans comes from irradiation of rats and from ESTIMATES of radiation exposure to the survivors of HIroshima and Nagasaki.

X-rays received during pregnancy has been the subject of a lot of medical debate recently. Most of the debate concerns at what level of exposure should a therapeutic abortion be recommended because of fetal damage. If you care to read it, go to this web site and download the pdf file.


Yes, the image is upside down. It is a common mistake that's made on the daytime television "soap opera" type shows and some medical dramas. They are too cheap to hire a medical consultant so they make themselves look foolish. But hey! they had a 50-50 chance to get it right. At least the long axis is horizontal, so they knew enough not to lay the MRI machine on its side...HA!

The 'research' regarding the danger of MRI and pregnancy has NOT been established. The research sited in the responses above was conducted in Saudi Arabia and even though they DID NOT establish a statistical danger, they decided to make the recommendation regarding MRI as conservative as possible. That is Saudi Arabia. Conservative. Even the science is tainted. If you don't believe me that they are conservative go there and try to establish a Christian Church.

No one seems to have a problem with multiple ultrasound examinations during pregnancy. That is because the energy delivered to the fetus is low and it is in the form of heat. That is, not enough heat energy to raise the temperature even 1 degree! Also, there are no Urban Legends to scare pregnant mothers away from ultrasound examinations.

The energy delivered during MRI to living cells from Electromagnetic Radiation in the range of radio waves is in the form of a temperature rise also...that is, heat. Magnetic fields deliver energy in much the same way. A 1.5 Tesla magnet resonates to E-M radiation (FM radio waves) at about 66 megahertz. That is near to the carrier frequency assigned to Channel 3 in the VHF rage in the U.S. MRI facilities are shielded with copper cladding but to ground. Radio waves or magnetic fields create electrical impulses in the copper shielding that goes to ground harmlessly.

We needn't go into the physics of medical imaging to realize that these imaging systems are safe unless you bring a steel oxygen tank into the room. The tank will shoot into the gantry from the extreme magnetic attraction striking the patient. People have been killed in this manner.
17:21 December 10, 2010 by SWB123
To frigitar

Actually, I knew that, and I am more than embarrassed to have to be corrected on that point.

Though, in my defense, I guess I was thinking at the time, that in audio speakers, and ultrasound imaging devices the 'waves' are created using electricity; but as you said, the electrically stimulated transducer does indeed create a physical wave. To go way beyond the immediate physical realities though, one COULD say, that every physical object, and even a wave within that object owes its existence to the interactions of the resonate electromagnetic frequencies of the atoms which make up that object. Thus, even a 'sound wave' has its roots in electromagnetism.

I know that was a long-shot, but did I save face?
18:13 December 10, 2010 by generous
Germans are known for their outstanding successes in the field of engineering and also in medical sciences The first Surgeon who performed coronary arteries angiography was a German. He performed on himself with the help of his Nurse in his own surgery.

Today its done all over the world. Scanning of this kind will go many steps forward in the field of finding the moves of babies while inside and surely its a way forward to find many more realities of life. I must congratulate all those who paid their share in this great achievement.
19:18 December 10, 2010 by John2U
To SWB123,

Actually, don't feel too badly about you classification of sound as E-M. It is a common mistake. Both are governed by wave theory. Sound, however is a longitudinal wave where E-M is a transverse wave field effect.

To correct the mistake that I made in my post I should have said not that a 1.5 Tesla Magnet resonates with a 66Mhz but rather that the element hydrogen resonates in a 1.5 T magnetic field to a 66 Mhz signal.

In MRI resonating hydrogen is used to make the image, and hydrogen makes up around 50% of the human body, since we are 70% water roughly and water is 2/3 hydrogen atoms.

You see, the magnetic field orientates the hydrogen spin in one direction. Then, the 66Mhz radio signal changes the spin when it is turned on. Then, when it is turned off the atoms (molecules) go back to their original spin under the magnetic influence.

In the process of re-orientation the atoms release energy in the form a radio signal that in measured for strength thus providing information about hydrogen content. The signals are then processed into images using mathematical reconstructions based on a mathematical process of describing a 3-dimensional object with an infinite set of projections first described by the Austrian mathematician Radon in 1817. However, we were not able to actually do it until we had computers capable of doing the re-iterative reconstructions in a reasonable period of time.

The science in medical imaging is nothing short of amazing.

And yes, we must have the science before we can have a practical application. If mankind had to wait for a practical application before we did the science II shudder to think where we would be today.
00:34 December 11, 2010 by el3ktro
@iseedaftpeople: Oh come on are you really THAT close minded that you can't think of any medical advantages that this technology could bring? We can for the first time SEE how a baby is born!
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