The 7 T


Here it is, the 7- Tesla MRI machine that I got to take for a ride at UCSF’s Surbeck Advanced Imaging Facility today. The machine’s magnetic field is so strong that photo opps had to be limited to snaps from the hallway, through the open door with a zoom lens while I ‘suited up.’

From the patient’s view, the machine, which is strictly a research rig at the moment, requiring a small army of technicians and programmers to run, is like flying an experimental fighter vs a 777.

Few creature comforts are included: the head antenna is basically a casque with no slots for air or light, and the utilitarian gurney is not nearly as comfortable as the automated ones on the lower-strength production models, and its position makes it both hard to get up on (for hemiplegic moi), but also drags shoulders, hips and other exterior features along the machine’s much deeper bore. There’s no interior lighting or thoughtfully-angled mirrors that let the patient look out from inside. A ventilation fan was either not working or hadn’t been switched on.  – after 30 minutes or so it got stuffy.

I realized I was positioned much more deeply into this machine than the 1.5 or 3-Tesla versions, but after the head mask was clamped down, I couldn’t see anything, anyway, so no big deal.

The other obvious difference was that while MRI machines are famously loud, this thing is front-row-of-rock-concert loud. I jumped several times when particularly-ear-splitting sequences started .We made our 45-minute (it turned out) ‘journey’ and now await the results…


About Chris Gulker

Chris Gulker, a self-described Infuential Blogger, lived in Menlo Park, California with spouse Linda. He passed away in late October 2010.
This entry was posted in All, My Brain, New Life, Photos and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The 7 T

  1. Beth Ann Daye says:

    That is certainly one very impressive machine. I can’t even imagine the noise inside. Let’s see, if I’m counting right, a 7-Tesla must be 140,000 times Earth’s magnetism. Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing results… Thanks for posting all this. Very interesting.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It would be a bit scary to sit inside a work in progress fully loaded with liquid helium that could start leaking at any moment. Maybe we’d have more luck detecting alien life from the magnetic fields of their MRI machines.

  3. Anonymous says:

    that took some stones, glad you toughed it out

  4. CG –
    Wonder what all those Google searchers looking for the battery-powered car will think when they turn up your post in their search??
    Anyway, you’re a brave hemiplegic to strap yourself into this baby. Hope the results are what you hope for.

  5. Beth Ann Daye says:

    This one is actually from David. He said he was so glad to get reacquainted with you at the 40th reunion and to hear more about your wonderful work. Also sending all the best wishes possible. So glad you have this blog so we can keep in touch.

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