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Scotland and its History. (Inventions).

19 March 2022
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The world’s first whole-body MRI scanner – the Mark 1 – has just been put on display in the Suttie Arts Space in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) was developed in the late 1970s by a University of Aberdeen team. The revolutionary technology allowed the team to analyse an entire body – inside and out – in what was a medical first. MRI is considered to be a safer diagnostic tool than X-rays and is more suitable for soft tissue, building up a picture of the human body by using high frequency radio signals.

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Mark 1 with Professor Jim Hutchison and Dr Meg Hutchison. Meg is now and Honorary Curatorial Assistant with the University Museums carrying out research and documentation of Scottish prehistoric human skeletal material.

On its first use in 1980, this machine obtained the first clinically useful MRI image of a patient’s internal tissues. Although initially an experimental machine, it was then also used by Aberdeen Royal infirmary, scanning more than 1000 patients as well as being used for further research. The technology is now in use throughout the world as a staple of medical diagnosis and study.

Mark 1 has now been acquired by University Museums, and is on display in the Suttie Arts Space thanks to the Grampian Hospitals Art Trust, who have also commissioned filmmaker Rob Page to create a documentary film of the people involved in the making of the Mark 1 and also those who now work in the modern day service of MRI imaging.

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