Document Type: Short Report


1 Pediatric Infectious Ward, Yasuj University of Medical Sciences, Yasuj, Iran

2 Ionizing and Non-ionizing Radiation Protection Research Center (INIRPRC), Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

3 Medical Physics and Medical Engineering Department, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

4 Student Research Committee, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

5 Speech and Language Pathology Department, School of Rehabilitation, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

6 M.Sc Student in Radiobiology and Protection, Paramedical School, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

7 MRI Department, Shahid Faghihi Hospital,Shiraz University of Medical Sciences,Shiraz, Iran


MRI workers are occupationally exposed to static and time-varying gradient magnetic fields.  While the 24-hour time-averaged exposure to static magnetic fields is about a few mT, the maximum static field strength can be as high as 500 mT during patient setup. Over the past several years, our laboratory has performed extensive experiments on the health effects of exposure of animal models and humans to different sources of electromagnetic fields such as cellular phones, mobile base stations, mobile phone jammers, laptop computers, radars, dentistry cavitrons and MRI. This study is to investigate the adverse health effects in MRI workers and also to assess the effect of exposure of MRI workers to static magnetic fields on their cognitive functions. In the first phase of this study a questionnaire was designed to collect information from 120 MRI personnel. The collection of data about the adverse health effects was based on self-reporting by the participants. In the second phase, 47 volunteer university students were asked to continuously move around a 1.5 T MRI scanner. Visual reaction time and working memory tests were performed on all participants before and after the experiment. Forward digit span and backward digit span were used for assessing the working memory. Furthermore, participants were asked to report the symptoms they had experienced during the movement. The first phase of our study showed increased frequencies of adverse health effects in MRI workers. In this study the rates of self-reported symptoms such as a headache, sleep problems, myalgia, palpitation, fatigue, concentration problems, attention problems, nervousness and backpain were possibly affected by static magnetic field. Furthermore we found that reaction time and working memory could be influenced by the movements of the body around a MRI scanner. It can be concluded that movement through a high magnetic field can also lead to some adverse cognitive effects in MRI staff.


  1. Gungor HR, Ok N, Akkaya S, Akkaya N. Are there any adverse effects of static magnetic field from magnetic resonance imaging devices on bone health of workers?. Eklem Hastalik Cerrahisi. 2014;25:36-41. PubMed PMID: 24650383.
  2. Franco G, Mora E, Perduri R. Focusing ethical dilemmas of evidence-based practice in SMF-exposed MRI-workers: a qualitative analysis. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2010;83:417-21. PubMed PMID: 19888595.
  3. Schaap K, Christopher-de Vries Y, Mason CK, de Vocht F, Portengen L, Kromhout H. Occupational exposure of healthcare and research staff to static magnetic stray fields from 1.5-7 Tesla MRI scanners is associated with reporting of transient symptoms. Occup Environ Med. 2014;71:423-9. PubMed PMID: 24714654. PubMed PMCID: 4033112
  4. de Vocht F, van Drooge H, Engels H, Kromhout H. Exposure, health complaints and cognitive performance among employees of an MRI scanners manufacturing department. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2006;23:197-204. PubMed PMID: 16374876.
  5. Moore EA, Scurr ED. British Association of MR Radiographers (BAMRR) safety survey 2005: potential impact of European Union (EU) Physical Agents Directive (PAD) on electromagnetic fields (EMF). J Magn Reson Imaging. 2007;26:1303-7. PubMed PMID: 17969163.
  6. Wilen J, Hauksson J, Mild KH. Modification of pulse sequences reduces occupational exposure from MRI switched gradient fields: Preliminary results. Bioelectromagnetics. 2010;31:85-7. PubMed PMID: 19753611.
  7. Hansson Mild K, Hand J, Hietanen M, Gowland P, Karpowicz J, Keevil S, et al. Exposure classification of MRI workers in epidemiological studies. Bioelectromagnetics. 2013;34:81-4. PubMed PMID: 22532229.
  8. Bradley JK, Nyekiova M, Price DL, Lopez LD, Crawley T. Occupational exposure to static and time-varying gradient magnetic fields in MR units. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2007;26:1204-9. PubMed PMID: 17969141.
  9. Mortazavi SM, Motamedifar M, Namdari G, Taheri M, Mortazavi AR, Shokrpour N. Non-linear adaptive phenomena which decrease the risk of infection after pre-exposure to radiofrequency radiation. Dose Response. 2014;12:233-45. PubMed PMID: 24910582. PubMed PMCID: 4036396.
  10. Mortazavi SMJ, Motamedifar M, Namdari G, Taheri M, Mortazavi AR. Counterbalancing immunosuppression-induced infections during long-term stay of humans in space. Journal of Medical Hypotheses and Ideas. 2013;7(1):8-10. doi:10.1016/j.jmhi.2012.12.001.
  11. Mortazavi SM, Rouintan MS, Taeb S, Dehghan N, Ghaffarpanah AA, Sadeghi Z, et al. Human short-term exposure to electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones decreases computer-assisted visual reaction time. Acta Neurol Belg. 2012;112:171-5. PubMed PMID: 22426673.
  12. Mortazavi S, Mosleh-Shirazi M, Tavassoli A, Taheri M, Mehdizadeh A, Namazi S, et al. Increased Radioresistance to Lethal Doses of Gamma Rays in Mice and Rats after Exposure to Microwave Radiation Emitted by a GSM Mobile Phone Simulator. Dose Response. 2013;11:281-92. PubMed PMID: 23930107. PubMed PMCID: 3682203.
  13. Mortazavi S, Mosleh-Shirazi M, Tavassoli A, Taheri M, Bagheri Z, Ghalandari R, et al. A comparative study on the increased radioresistance to lethal doses of gamma rays after exposure to microwave radiation and oral intake of flaxseed oil. Iranian Journal of Radiation Research. 2011;9:9-14.
  14. Mortavazi S, Habib A, Ganj-Karami A, Samimi-Doost R, Pour-Abedi A, Babaie A. Alterations in TSH and Thyroid Hormones following Mobile Phone Use. Oman Med J. 2009;24:274-8. PubMed PMID: 22216380. PubMed PMCID: 3243874.
  15. Mortazavi SM, Daiee E, Yazdi A, Khiabani K, Kavousi A, Vazirinejad R, et al. Mercury release from dental amalgam restorations after magnetic resonance imaging and following mobile phone use. Pak J Biol Sci. 2008;11:1142-6. PubMed PMID: 18819554.
  16. Mortazavi SM, Ahmadi J, Shariati M. Prevalence of subjective poor health symptoms associated with exposure to electromagnetic fields among university students. Bioelectromagnetics. 2007;28:326-30. PubMed PMID: 17330851.
  17. Mortazavi S. Safety issue of mobile phone base stations. J Biomed Phys Eng. 2013;3:1-2.
  18. Mortazavi S, Parsanezhad M, Kazempour M, Ghahramani P, Mortazavi A, Davari M. Male reproductive health under threat: Short term exposure to radiofrequency radiations emitted by common mobile jammers. J Hum Reprod Sci. 2013;6(2):124-8. doi: 10.4103/0974-1208.117178. PubMed PMID: 24082653; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3778601.
  19. Mortazavi SMJ, Tavassoli A, Ranjbari F, Moammaiee P. Effects of laptop computers’ electromagnetic field on sperm quality. Journal of Reproduction & Infertility. 2010;11;251-258.
  20. Mortazavi SM, Vazife-Doost S, Yaghooti M, Mehdizadeh S, Rajaie-Far A. Occupational exposure of dentists to electromagnetic fields produced by magnetostrictive cavitrons alters the serum cortisol level. J Nat Sci Biol Med. 2012;3:60-4. PubMed PMID: 22690053. PubMed PMCID: 3361780.
  21. Mortazavi SM, Daiee E, Yazdi A, Khiabani K, Kavousi A, Vazirinejad R, et al. Mercury release from dental amalgam restorations after magnetic resonance imaging and following mobile phone use. Pak J Biol Sci. 2008;11:1142-6. PubMed PMID: 18819554.
  22. Mortazavi SM, Neghab M, Anoosheh SM, Bahaeddini N, Mortazavi G, Neghab P, et al. High-field MRI and mercury release from dental amalgam fillings. Int J Occup Environ Med. 2014;5:101-5. PubMed PMID: 24748001.
  23. Chakeres DW, de Vocht F. Static magnetic field effects on human subjects related to magnetic resonance imaging systems. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2005;87:255-65. PubMed PMID: 15556664.
  24. Guidelines on limits of exposure to static magnetic fields. International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. Health Phys. 1994;66:100-6. PubMed PMID: 8253572.
  25. Bongers S, Slottje P, Portengen L, Kromhout H. Exposure to static magnetic fields and risk of accidents among a cohort of workers from a medical imaging device manufacturing facility. Magn Reson Med. 2015. PubMed PMID: 26079378.