Friday, September 2, 2011

Scientists (and science lovers), listen up!

I just had the craziest MRI I've ever had. And I've had a lot of MRIs. Listen to this, and let's figure out what happened!

This MRI was the first one I've had in the main UCSF hospital on the 3rd floor. It was a GE system, which I've been on before. This time, on the second sequence which lasted 7 minutes, I started getting crazy and rapid muscle spasms in my lats! It alternated between the right and left side, and it was happening directly in correlation with the loud chirping noise. Only it stopped in between the high chirps, and it faded away little by little as my position was shifted.

Then, as we got closer to the end of that sequence, it started up again! Slowly increasing until it ended up right where it started. Which made me think that there was some kind of cycling of the position of the brain or the field.

After that, I went through several normal cycles until they started the contrast agent. And with that particular cycle it happened again, only way stronger than the first time! This one actually scared me a little bit. The muscles were rapidly pulsating.

I mentioned it to the tech, and he looked at me like I was crazy. I could only imagine that in this particular MRI there was some (undesirable) electric field in addition to the "normal" magnetic field triggering a particular part of my brain that happens to control the lats. But I'm open to any other theories!

Bring it on....


  1. The B field was high enough to awaken long dormant cells in your head that used to follow earth's magnetic field. The chirp frequency from the MRI was near the right frequency of the chirp from the bird you evolved from so your lats involuntarily flex to flap what used to be your wings.

  2. Thanks! And my co-worker "Skippy" also sent me this link:

    I like the idea of dormant cells in the brain from the "bird days". I knew that the pineal gland ( detects light directly in birds to control their circadian rhythm. But I didn't know we still had the ability to fly!

  3. blog suggests peripheral nerve stimulation during MRI is not dangerous. Even so, Skippy's link suggests that UCSF would want to know so it might be worth sending them a quick chirp ...

  4. So this has been driving me nuts so of course I had to ask my neurology colleague at UCSF and put him up to asking the UCSF MR physicist on one of his studies. Here is the MR physicist's answer:

    "It’s known as peripheral nerve stimulation. You can learn more from the source of all knowledge – Wikipedia!"

    Linke below: