CMRR Research Participation Opportunities
Frequently Asked Questions and How to Sign Up
What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a technique which uses strong magnetic fields and low energy radio waves to make pictures of the inside of the human body non-invasively (i.e. without cutting through the skin). Not only can we generate images of you internal anatomy, but we can measure the chemical state of your tissue. In most of our studies, we watch the amount of oxygen used by parts of your brain while you perform some simple task. MRI has a number of advantages over other medical imaging techniques, in that it does NOT use ionizing radiation and there is NO need for you to have to take any drugs or medication.
Is it Confidential?
Any information about your identity obtained from this research will be kept private. In any sort of report we might publish we will not include information that will make it possible for other people to know your name. You will be simply referred to by your gender, age and possibly some characteristic such as left or right handedness.
What happens in a typical study?
A typical research study will proceed something like this: First, you will lie down on a table and as the table slides into the scanner, your head will go into a coil that resembles a helmet. We will put cushions around your head to keep it still. The table slides into the MRI scanner where you'll be able to see outside of the scanner through a view port and a mirror. Depending on the study, you may be asked to perform certain tasks with a joystick, respond to different visual or verbal stimuli, or in some cases, you may be able to simply lie there and listen to music.
A typical training or equipment demonstration session will proceed similarly. In this case, University of Minnesota employees and/or students will receive training on 3 Tesla MRI software and hardware, be training new operators on how to operate the 3 Tesla MRI or be demonstrating 3 Tesla MRI system functionality. You will be asked to lie still and may be asked to do a simple task within the MRI, such as look at an image or manipulate a joystick.
Can Anyone Participate?
Most healthy adults (18 years or older) can.
However, we do have a series of screening questions we ask anyone interested in participating in a study.
You must be able to answer NO to each of these questions:
1. Do you have a cardiac pacemaker or any other implant?
The high magnetic field interferes with the proper functioning of pacemakers. Metal implants may be bent, pulled out of place etc. Shrapnel, for instance from an old war wound, left lodged near vital organs may be pulled by the field.
2. Do you have any non-removable jewelry or body piercing?
Metal jewelry made out of materials such as surgical steel will tend to heat up and become uncomfortably warm. This is similar to what happens if you put a fork in a micro-wave oven.
3. Is there any possibility you could be pregnant?
While there are no known harmful side-effects of MRI, we would rather not take any chances. So we ask that if you might be pregnant you NOT take part in these studies.
4. Are you at all claustrophobic?
The MRI scanner is a very narrow enclosed space. It has been compared to a tanning bed or a torpedo tube. The coil (or helmet like device your head is placed in) is mere centimeters--possibly less--from the tip of your nose. Your head is placed in padding to help you hold it as absolutely still as possible. While you can get out of the magnet at any time during the experiment, if you are feeling seriously uncomfortable, you should be aware that it is an extremely confined space, and you will need to lie still for an hour or more.
5. Is there a weight limit?
You must be under 350 lbs. This is due to the size of the entrance to the machine.
How do I sign up?
To learn more about this registry and to see you are eligible to participate in projects at the CMRR please visit the following webpage:
If found eligible for participating in our recruitment pool, you will receive emails from our facility recruitment team. Emails are sent on Monday and Thursday with the various research opportunities at the CMRR.
Recruitment is on a first come first serve basis meaning that you are likely to be placed in a study the quicker you respond to the email invitation
Can I be removed from the contact list?
Yes, you can choose to remove yourself from our registry. In order to do this you will need to email our recruitment team at CMRRstudies@umn.eduand you will be removed from the list.
Other reasons you might be removed from the list include multiple no shows or contact attempts. Time on the MRI scanner is extremely expensive (hundreds of dollars per hour), so once you sign up for an experiment, we need to be able to count on you to be there. If for some reason you cannot make it to an experiment you've signed up for, we ask if you can call as early as possible and let us know so that hopefully we can sign someone else up in your place.
Is there any risk to my health?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved some of the scanners we use in studies conducted here at the CMRR, but many of the devices are not FDA approved and are for investigational use only. No serious side effects of being in an MRI scanner have been reported after more than twenty-five years of use. A few people have reported side effects that include dizziness, mild nausea, a metallic taste in the mouth, and the sensation of seeing flashing lights. (Though some of these same effects have also been reported by subjects who were in a scanner where the magnet was turned off). These side effects, if experienced, go away soon after you leave the magnet.
This research involves minimal risk. If you are injured, treatment will be available at the Fairview-University Hospital and Clinic, including first-aid, emergency treatment and follow-up care if needed. In the unlikely event that this is necessary, you and your health insurance company must pay for any such treatment.