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For Research Participants

Welcome to the Cornell MRI Facility. MRI uses a strong magnetic field to take pictures of the brain and body. It is non-invasive and safe, and does not involve injections or using ionizing radiation, however to participant, you must meet the subject criteria listed below.

What do the experiments study?

Our experiments investigate many topics many are related to how the brain works, but we study other parts of the body as well. We study emotions, memory, decision making, how these processes change with age, and many other topics!

What happens during the functional MRI experiments?

When you come in for a study, you will begin by meeting with the MRI technologist who will explain the procedures of the study and will answer any questions that you may have. The technologist will discuss consent and screening forms with you, to ensure both that you understand the study and that you can safely participate. Once you are ready to begin the experiment, you will lie down on a platform next to the MR scanner.

The technologist or assistant will adjust your body on the platform and place padding around the sides of your head and elsewhere for comfort. Then, the platform will slowly move into the center of the MR scanner. You will be able to see outside of the scanner by looking at a mirror, and you will be able to talk with the experimenters through a two-way intercom system. Most studies last between 1 and 2 hours. Depending on the experiment, you may watch pictures on a screen, listen to words or music, remember or count stimuli, and/or press buttons to indicate your judgments about stimuli. During the scanning session, the technologist will talk with you to see how you are doing. You will be free to stop participating in the study at any time if you choose. At the end of the session, the technologist will explain the procedures, show you images from your scan, and will answer any questions that you have about the study. Female subjects are required to have a pregnancy test before participating in MRI studies.

Who cannot participate in the studies?

You cannot participate in the study if you have implanted metal in your body that would be affected by the strong magnetic field. If any of the following apply to you, you cannot participate in any research MRI studies.

  • Cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator
  • Insulin or infusion pump
  • Cochlear, otologic, or ear implant
  • Any implant held in place by a magnet
  • Tissue expanders (plastic surgery)
  • Implanted catheter, clamp, clips, valves, or other metal
  • Tattoos or permanent makeup above shoulders
  • Shrapnel or metal fragments
  • Ever had metal removed from eye
  • Ever worked as a metal worker
  • Pregnant

There may be additional exclusion criteria that vary from study to study. For example, many studies do not allow anyone with implanted metal of any kind to participate. It may be helpful to review our screening form used in CMRIF research studies.

Will I receive any medical evaluation?

CMRIF research does not serve as a medical evaluation, and will be of no direct medical benefit. The research scans that we use in our studies are not the same as those used in diagnostic clinical studies. The CMRIF research scans will normally not be read by a radiologist and cannot be used to diagnose or treat any condition. If you believe that you need a MRI scan for health reasons, please contact a physician.


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