Participation FAQs

Is MRI Safe?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners use large magnets to create images of your brain using magnetic fields and radio waves. MRI is a safe and painless procedure for most people. Because it uses a magnet, MRI may not be safe for people with shrapnel or certain metal implants in their bodies. We ask all people who enter the MRI a series of questions to make sure they do not have any items – including braces - which could be affected by the MRI. To ensure safety we only scan people that meet all requirements to have an MRI.

What Should I Wear?

We recommend comfortable clothing on the day of your scan. Avoid clothing with metallic decorations or athletic wear (such as those from Lululemon) that contain metallic threading.  We will also ask that all metal items be removed; including watches, jewelry, belts, or clothing that contain metal (for example, buckles, large hooks or zippers and some bras), before entering the scanner. We will provide you with alternative clothing should you need it. Also avoid using metal in your hair like bobby pins or barrettes.

Is MRI Uncomfortable?

MRI is a painless procedure but it can be loud. We will provide ear plugs inside the scanner to reduce the noise. In addition some individuals become claustrophobic in the scanner. We will monitor your comfort throughout our procedure and will stop the scan for anyone experiencing these issues. You may also ask to stop a scan at any time for any reason.

How Long Will it Take?

Most scan sessions require approximately 30-60 minutes inside the scanner. The study you participate in may also include other activities outside the scanner, feel free to ask for more details from any study staff member.

What Will I Experience?

Typically a scanning session will involve several different components. Most imaging sessions will involve short periods of 5-6 minutes when a single still image of your brain is acquired and you will simply be required to lie still. We may play a movie clip or short video inside the scanner during these times. Many imaging sessions also involve acquiring functional MRIs while you are viewing images, watching videos, or listening to recordings. You may be asked to push buttons during portions of these scans to indicate a response. Functional MRI sessions often have several sessions that last 5-6 minutes each and are repeated a number of times.

Will I Be Reimbursed?

Most MRI research studies will provide compensation for participation. The details of compensation vary by study. For details consult the study for which you are enrolled.

How Do I Get There and Where Do I Park?

Nationwide Children’s Hospital is located at 700 Children’s Drive, Columbus, OH, 43205. This is just south of the Main street exit of I-71, at the intersection of Livingston Ave. and Parsons Ave. Parking is available in the underground garage accessible from Parsons Ave. To access the MRI area check in at Crossroads located on the first floor of the hospital.

If you do not have a car or prefer not to drive alternate transportation can often be arranged contact us to ask about taxis.

What if I Have Braces?

Unfortunately, most braces are not compatible with MRI scans. Braces are not usually magnetic but they often distort the MRI signal and make the images too difficult to read. We usually do not include people who wear braces.

Can I Come In With My Child?

We do allow parents to sit in the room with the child while they are undergoing the MRI procedure because children often find it comforting to have a parent in the room with them. However, the child must lie in the scanner alone.

Who Do I Contact?

If you have questions or concerns about an MRI research study please contact the study coordinator or principal investigator for the specific study.