Bio-effects of high magnetic fields: a study using a simple animal model

Magn Reson Imaging. 1992;10(4):689-94. doi: 10.1016/0730-725x(92)90021-q.


The desire to do clinical imaging and spectroscopy at magnetic field strengths greater than 2 Tesla (T) necessitates investigation of possible bioeffects at these high fields. A simple T-maze was utilized to evaluate the aversive effects of exposure to three levels of static magnetic field (0, 1.5, and 4 T). The right arm of the maze extended into the center of a 30-cm horizontal bore magnet, while the left arm extended into a mock magnet bore with the same dimensions. The self-shielded design of the magnet reduces the fringe field to zero within 1 m of the bore, placing the start box of the maze outside the 5-G line of the magnet. Each rat performed a total of ten trials at each level of magnetic field strength. A follow-up subset was run at 4 T with the maze reversed. At 0 T, the rats entered the magnet freely. No significant differences from the control were observed at 1.5 T. At 4 T, however, in 97% of the trials the rats would not enter the magnet. In the maze-reversed subset a majority of the rats turned toward the magnet, indicating that they had learned an aversive response from the previous trials at 4 T. However, in only 4 decisions out of 58 did the rats actually enter the magnet. Eighteen decisions to turn around were made at the edge of the magnet in a region of strong field gradients (up to 13 T/m) and a field strength up to 1.75 T.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Rats