Thresholds for perceiving metallic taste at high magnetic field

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2007 Nov;26(5):1357-61. doi: 10.1002/jmri.21153.


Purpose: To perform an initial characterization of the metallic taste effect observed by some workers when moving around an MRI scanner.

Materials and methods: A total of 21 subjects performed controlled movements in the stray field of a 7-T scanner. Rates of change of magnetic flux were recorded during the study using a custom-built three-axis coil unit connected to a data logger.

Results: Relatively normal movements could generate switched fields of 2 T/second. Of the 21 subjects, 12 detected a metallic taste, but the threshold at which it was perceived varied greatly between subjects, with the minimum dB/dt value at which such a taste was detected being 1.3 T/second. The threshold also depended on the direction of movement.

Conclusion: This study indicates that 50% of subjects will perceive a metallic taste for head shaking with a period of 1.5 seconds (magnetic field in an anterior/posterior direction) causing a dB/dt of 2.3 +/- 0.3 T/second. The presence of dental fillings is not a requirement for the sensation of metallic taste.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Metals*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology*
  • Sensory Thresholds / radiation effects*
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Taste / radiation effects*


  • Metals