It’s Never Too Early to Learn About MRI

A visitor from a nearby preschool checks out the Center’s mock MRI scanner. Photo by Caroline Magnain.

Here in the Martinos Center, our education mission extends all the way to teaching children enrolled in the preschool down the street in the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Once a year, the Center’s Allison Stevens welcomes a group of the children, explains to them what MRI is and what it does, and stresses the need to wear helmets and to be careful of hitting their heads.

After talking to them about the technology, Allison takes the kids down the hall to show them the Center’s “mock” scanner: an MRI simulator typically used to habituate patients to the scanning environment. This activity serves two purposes. It’s fun for the children—some of whom get super-giggly about climbing into the scanner—but it also introduces them to a device they may encounter if they ever need to go to the hospital. In doing so, it can help to reduce any fears they have about MRI.

As Allison pushes each child into the bore of the scanner, all of the other kids help by yelling “3-2-1 blast off!” Then she asks the child to “freeze like a statue” so she can (pretend to) take a picture of his or her brain…