1453: "fMRI"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6108
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

1453: "fMRI"

Postby Jorpho » Fri Nov 28, 2014 6:27 am UTC

Image

Title Text: They also showed activation in the parts of the brain associated with exposure to dubious study methodology, concern about unremoved piercings, and exasperation with fMRI techs who won't stop talking about Warped Tour.

It has often struck me that it is a truly ingenious triumph of marketing that they managed to call it MRI and not nuclear MRI, which is what it really is. No chance anyone would have used it otherwise.

EDIT: You may also enjoy http://www.simplyphysics.com/flying_objects.html .
Last edited by Jorpho on Fri Nov 28, 2014 6:44 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Neil_Boekend
Posts: 3215
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:35 am UTC
Location: Yes.

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Fri Nov 28, 2014 6:36 am UTC

Contrary to the experiences of most people I actually liked my MRI. Rythmic low frequencies always soothe me and a mirror allowed me to look at the operators, perhaps that prevented claustrophobia.

That is, my first MRI. The second time they had the option of listening to radio. I should not have chosen to. The crappy pop music from the radio station messed with the soothing effect of the MRI and that clash reversed the effect somehow. I became anxious and it was difficult to remain still. It also seemed to take far longer.
Mikeski wrote:A "What If" update is never late. Nor is it early. It is posted precisely when it should be.

patzer's signature wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:I'm being quoted too much!

he/him/his

User avatar
Angua
Don't call her Delphine.
Posts: 5651
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:42 pm UTC
Location: UK/[St. Kitts and] Nevis Occasionally, I migrate to the US for a bit

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby Angua » Fri Nov 28, 2014 7:46 am UTC

I always fall asleep in them.
'Look, sir, I know Angua. She's not the useless type. She doesn't stand there and scream helplessly. She makes other people do that.'
GNU Terry Pratchett

User avatar
keithl
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:46 pm UTC

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby keithl » Fri Nov 28, 2014 8:25 am UTC

Angua wrote:I always fall asleep in them.
Hotels are cheaper. Do they put a mint on your pillow?

User avatar
Eternal Density
Posts: 5472
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:37 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby Eternal Density » Fri Nov 28, 2014 8:57 am UTC

I've never had an MRI but as of today one of my relatives is schedules for one. GOOMHR!
Play the game of Time! castle.chirpingmustard.com Hotdog Vending Supplier But what is this?
In the Marvel vs. DC film-making war, we're all winners.

User avatar
bachaddict
Handel Played it Better
Posts: 484
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:18 am UTC
Location: Aotearoa

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby bachaddict » Fri Nov 28, 2014 9:08 am UTC

I don't think I've ever seen an MRI machine.

Probably because I have never been admitted to a hospital as a patient.
slinches wrote:Also, the OTC isn't a disease. In fact, it's the cure. As we all know, Time heals all wounds.

Thanks for the molpish wig ggh!
he/him/his

User avatar
Neil_Boekend
Posts: 3215
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:35 am UTC
Location: Yes.

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Fri Nov 28, 2014 9:21 am UTC

bachaddict wrote:Probably because I have never been admitted to a hospital as a patient.

Of course not: robots need mechanics, not MD's!
Mikeski wrote:A "What If" update is never late. Nor is it early. It is posted precisely when it should be.

patzer's signature wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:I'm being quoted too much!

he/him/his

User avatar
orthogon
Posts: 2690
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 7:52 am UTC
Location: The Airy 1830 ellipsoid

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby orthogon » Fri Nov 28, 2014 9:26 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:It has often struck me that it is a truly ingenious triumph of marketing that they managed to call it MRI and not nuclear MRI, which is what it really is. No chance anyone would have used it otherwise.

The way I remember it, they were called NMR scanners for a while, then they suddenly became MRI overnight, with no explanation, no "formerly known as" etc. It's a bit like the way the media suddenly started pronouncing Kim Basinger's name /ˈbeɪsɪŋər/ instead of /ˈbæsɪndʒər/, like they'd always said it that way, with no "sorry, we've been saying this wrong all along". (I'm talking about the UK media here, it may have been different in the US). I'd better not mention tsunami.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

User avatar
HES
Posts: 4774
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 7:13 pm UTC
Location: England

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby HES » Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:57 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:It has often struck me that it is a truly ingenious triumph of marketing that they managed to call it MRI and not nuclear MRI, which is what it really is. No chance anyone would have used it otherwise.

And they left it in NMR (edit - spectroscopy), which makes my sister's job sound way cooler than it is.
He/Him/His Image

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 8728
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:12 pm UTC

The reason for the change is that some patients kept getting scared of "NUCLEAR magnetic resonance imaging". So they dropped the N. Because people are so stupid they think cellphones cause cancer because it emits radio waves. Idiocy like this is why we can't have nuclear power, even though it causes less deaths per gigawatt than any other power source (even including Chernobyl!), even 'green' ones.

Honestly we should stop coddling idiots. If you do not stop a preventable death because you 'know more' about health than the woman who has 7 years of school and another decade of training for 70 hrs a week *cough*stevejobs*cough*, well, thanks for chlorinating the gene pool. Problem is when they choose care for their children...

User avatar
Mankoi
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:06 am UTC
Location: United States

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby Mankoi » Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:23 pm UTC

Of course, the above is why fMRI studies tend to be done by having a baseline fMRI and only looking at what parts of the brain activate differently during a task. The more major issues with fMRI studies are that the fMRI can't really tell the difference between an increase in brain activity and a significant decrease in activity. And that the brain is actually quite busy when at rest, so it may not be the best baseline to use. And interpreting the results is dodgy. And, honestly, some of the study topics are a bit dodgy, because fMRI studies are easier to get funding for. There's a whole host of issues with fMRI studies, but this one is actually controlled for.

Kit.
Posts: 1020
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:14 pm UTC

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby Kit. » Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:43 pm UTC

Mankoi wrote:And that the brain is actually quite busy when at rest

That's why I read the comic's message as "...when compared to performing complex memory tasks..."

Tyndmyr
Posts: 10130
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:09 pm UTC

Angua wrote:I always fall asleep in them.


Only been in one the once, but yeah...it was super hard to stay awake.

nowhereman
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:46 pm UTC

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby nowhereman » Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:56 pm UTC

This comic seems very timely given that I have just come back from Psychonomics 2014. I got to go to sunny and warm Long Beach so that I could sit for hours in a small, ice cold air-conditioned room while researchers talked about their research. A few of them were fMRI studies. In my field of decision making, fMRI is not favored due to its low time resolution. We kinda need to know not just what parts of the brain are lighting up, but what order.

Fortunately, budget-wise, I do not mess with fMRI, FNIRS, nor EEG. I only have to deal with a host of other issues when it comes to my research.
"God does not play dice with... Yahtzee!" - Little known quote from Einstein

rmsgrey
Posts: 3074
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:35 pm UTC

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:58 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Honestly we should stop coddling idiots. If you do not stop a preventable death because you 'know more' about health than the woman who has 7 years of school and another decade of training for 70 hrs a week *cough*stevejobs*cough*, well, thanks for chlorinating the gene pool. Problem is when they choose care for their children...


Happily, most of the time, the children share half their genes.

User avatar
San Fran Sam
Posts: 228
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:54 pm UTC

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby San Fran Sam » Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:20 am UTC

I wpuldn't worry about any of this. After a few more Thanksgiving Day parades there won't be enough helium left (on Earth) to run them.

I suppose some genius Republican senator will propose annexing the sun so we can take the helium from there.

Mirkwood
Posts: 70
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:10 am UTC

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby Mirkwood » Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:26 am UTC

orthogon wrote:
Jorpho wrote:It has often struck me that it is a truly ingenious triumph of marketing that they managed to call it MRI and not nuclear MRI, which is what it really is. No chance anyone would have used it otherwise.

The way I remember it, they were called NMR scanners for a while, then they suddenly became MRI overnight, with no explanation, no "formerly known as" etc. It's a bit like the way the media suddenly started pronouncing Kim Basinger's name /ˈbeɪsɪŋər/ instead of /ˈbæsɪndʒər/, like they'd always said it that way, with no "sorry, we've been saying this wrong all along". (I'm talking about the UK media here, it may have been different in the US). I'd better not mention tsunami.


I'm the chief copy editor for a newspaper, and at least at my paper, we worship the Associated Press Stylebook. Unless the subject is of local importance, so we make make an exception for it in our own style guide, we follow recommendations by the AP. Accordingly, the preferred term for something can change overnight, e.g. going from "ISIS" to "Islamic State group." I'm sure most papers that follow the AP Stylebook are not so different.

User avatar
studyinserendipity
~Hanners~
Posts: 414
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:30 am UTC
Location: teaching your children about cephalopods
Contact:

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby studyinserendipity » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:23 am UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:That is, my first MRI. The second time they had the option of listening to radio. I should not have chosen to. The crappy pop music from the radio station messed with the soothing effect of the MRI and that clash reversed the effect somehow. I became anxious and it was difficult to remain still. It also seemed to take far longer.
Mine had a bunch of different radio stations to choose from, thankfully. I chose classical, although with all the loud noises at strange intervals I wonder if dubstep or electronic music would have made the sounds feel less out-of-place.

My first MRI (with radio) had me completely immersed and I felt all warm and cozy, especially with the headphones. The second one my head wasn't completely in, and they had a lovely lightbox above my head with a picture of blooming cherry blossoms against a bright blue sky. Very soothing image, kind of made up for the fact that I had to keep my foot in an awkward position. It is pretty neat the ways people were trying to make the experience more comfortable for the patient.
People wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.

she/her/hers

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6108
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby Jorpho » Sat Nov 29, 2014 6:03 am UTC

I wish I could participate in an fMRI study some day. It would be cool to look at a picture of my brain. Alas, it seems not so easy to get in on things like that.

CorruptUser wrote:Honestly we should stop coddling idiots. If you do not stop a preventable death because you 'know more' about health than the woman who has 7 years of school and another decade of training for 70 hrs a week *cough*stevejobs*cough*, well, thanks for chlorinating the gene pool. Problem is when they choose care for their children...
The power of idiots in large groups is not to be underestimated, alas, and some things just can't get accomplished without them on board.

Positron
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:05 am UTC

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby Positron » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:21 am UTC

There's a pretty cool TED talk about this called "Beware neuro-bunk", about how the many functions a part of the brain can have makes these correlations of dubious utility: http://www.ted.com/talks/molly_crockett ... anguage=en

Alcatraz II
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:48 am UTC

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby Alcatraz II » Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:15 am UTC

Thank you for helping my friend Emily.
It means so much.


New text at the top of the page. Does anyone know who Emily is?

User avatar
Angua
Don't call her Delphine.
Posts: 5651
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:42 pm UTC
Location: UK/[St. Kitts and] Nevis Occasionally, I migrate to the US for a bit

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby Angua » Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:19 pm UTC

The previous header was:

"Hey all. My friend Emily—the economist who helped me with my money chart—has been fighting cancer. She's having a rough time and could use some help. Thank you."
'Look, sir, I know Angua. She's not the useless type. She doesn't stand there and scream helplessly. She makes other people do that.'
GNU Terry Pratchett

hamjudo
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:56 pm UTC

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby hamjudo » Sat Nov 29, 2014 6:22 pm UTC

I worked on a research project in the early 1980s in the period between NMR and MRI. It was just an MR imager. We referred to it as "mister imager" when the medical doctors weren't around.

I know doctors with a sense of humor now. Those particular research doctors had no sense of humor.

Back then, the voxels weren't cubes. Mister imager had a printer that put the images on to something that looked just like Xray film. The didn't want to scare the old doctors that ran hospitals with something unfamiliar.

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6108
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby Jorpho » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:10 pm UTC

hamjudo wrote:It was just an MR imager. We referred to it as "mister imager" when the medical doctors weren't around.
Wow, I never even thought of that. That would have been an even better marketing tool. "We're going to see Mister Imager today!"

User avatar
keithl
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:46 pm UTC

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby keithl » Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:25 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:I wish I could participate in an fMRI study some day. It would be cool to look at a picture of my brain. Alas, it seems not so easy to get in on things like that.

fMRI - images that light up with brain metabolism - is more expensive and complicated than ordinary MRI. If you have a friendly doctor willing to write you a prescription, and about $1000 burning a hole in your pocket, you can purchase a complete MRI from an imaging center with a gap in their schedule. I paid $1500 cash (no insurance paperwork) for a "gadolinium contrast MRI". 3000 high resolution slices. That's 50 cents per brain image, one of which I would include here, but it is too many pixels.

We were looking for signs of cerebral amyloid angiopathy; none found. We established a baseline, so that if I have a stroke (as both my father and paternal grandfather had when they were my age), the ER docs have something to compare to. We found a smaller-than-expected thyroid, which explained some metabolic anomalies. 25mg per day levothyroxine took care of that.

My vision of a wonderful future is where we are all rich, and spend all our discretionary income on ridiculous amounts of imaging, gene sequences, metabolic panels, and other bio-narcissisms. Yes, a Hollywood starlet might make interesting movies, but what does her heart look like on a nuclear stress electrocardiogram? Is her screen romance doomed by genetic heterozygosity?

User avatar
Xantix
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:16 pm UTC

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby Xantix » Sun Nov 30, 2014 5:36 am UTC

"the removal of jewelry"

I think Black Hat sneaked into this study and gave LSD to the control group.

User avatar
cellocgw
Posts: 1760
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:40 pm UTC

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby cellocgw » Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:00 pm UTC

Yeah yeah yeah.... fMRI studies... Another case history:

Someone related to me thought it would be fun to volunteer as a subject in some fMRI study at a nearby (hospital? med school? I forget). She got only as far as the first scan, after which the tech, or someone, said, Hey, you've got a blob in your frontal lobe!

So, lots and lots of time and money later (insured, luckily), it's written off as a benign and non-active (i.e. not growing or in any way alive) thingy.

See - it's like rule X of The House of God: " If you don't take a temperature, you can't find a fever."
https://app.box.com/witthoftresume
Former OTTer
Vote cellocgw for President 2020. #ScienceintheWhiteHouse http://cellocgw.wordpress.com
"The Planck length is 3.81779e-33 picas." -- keithl
" Earth weighs almost exactly π milliJupiters" -- what-if #146, note 7

User avatar
.DL
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:27 pm UTC

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby .DL » Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:42 pm UTC

I've never been entirely sure...how done are you in terms of safety if jewelry or metal was left on in an fMRI? I've just plain never known the exact dangers, its always just been implied.

User avatar
Neil_Boekend
Posts: 3215
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:35 am UTC
Location: Yes.

Re: 1453: "fMRI"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Wed Dec 03, 2014 6:52 am UTC

The Mythbusters1 tested some stuff with the Exploding tattoo myth (S2E19)

1 I know, single data point is not science and all that. It is far closer to science than 0 data points, which is what they are battling. And it's fun to watch, 1000 times repeated stuff isn't.
Mikeski wrote:A "What If" update is never late. Nor is it early. It is posted precisely when it should be.

patzer's signature wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:I'm being quoted too much!

he/him/his


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: hetas and 40 guests