Static magnetic field effects on human subjects related to magnetic resonance imaging systems

DW Chakeres*, F de Vocht

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


Goal: This paper reviews recent studies evaluating human subjects for physiologic or neuro-cognitive function adverse effects resulting from exposure to static magnetic fields of magnetic resonance! imaging systems.

Materials and Methods: The results of three studies are summarized. Two studies evaluated exposure to a maximum of 8 Tesla (T). The first series studied 25 normal human subjects' sequential vital sips (heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygenation, core temperature, ECG, respiratory rate) measured at different magnetic field strengths to a maximum of 8 T. A second series of 25 subjects were studied at 0.05 and 8 T (out and in the bore of the magnet), performing 12 different standardized neuro-psychological tests and auditory-motor reaction times. The subjects' comments were recorded immediately following the study and after a three-month interval. The third study contained 17 subjects, placed near the bore of a 1.5T magnet and it used six different cognitive, cognitive-motor. or sensory tests.

Results: There were no clinically significant changes in the subjects' physiologic measurements at 8 T. There was a slight increase in the systolic blood pressure with increasing magnetic field strength. There did not appear to be any adverse effect on the cognitive performance of the subjects at 8 T. A few subjects commented at the time of initial exposure on dizziness, metallic taste in the mouth. or discomfort related to the measurement instruments or the head coil. There were no adverse comments at 3 months. The 1.5T study had two of the four neuro-behavioral domains exhibiting adverse effects (sensory and cognitive-motor).

Conclusions: These studies did not demonstrate any clinically relevant adverse effects on neuro-cognitive testing or vital sign changes. One short-term memory, one sensory, and one cognitive-motor test demonstrated adverse effects, but the significance is not clear. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-265
Number of pages11
JournalProgress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventInternational Workshop of the National-Radiological-Protection-Board - Chilton, United Kingdom
Duration: 26 Apr 200427 Apr 2004


  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • high static magnetic fields
  • MRI safety
  • neuro-cognitive function
  • 8 TESLA


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