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MRI Being Made Safe for Patients with Implants

MRI had been thought to be unsuitable for patients with implanted devices such as pacemakers. But now researchers at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore) have figured out ways around the problems, reports Health & Medicine Week in an article reprinted on MRI produces images by charging and manipulating the electrical properties of cells. Needless to say, the presence of electrical devices in the mix causes problems.

The devices often mistake MRI activity for heartbeat irregularities. But the Johns Hopkins team has worked through the problem in several ways, including lowering the amount of electrical energy used in the MRI, and reprogramming the devices to frequencies that temporarily "blind" them to their external environment. This could open up an important diagnostic option for tons of patients who haven't been able to take advantage of it.

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