Document Type: Short Report

Authors

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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