History of Magnetic Resonance Imaging: A Trip Down Memory Lane

Neuroscience. 2021 Oct 15:474:3-13. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2021.06.038. Epub 2021 Jul 6.


The history of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is closely linked to our improved understanding of memory systems, be it in normal functioning or altered due to pathologies. Over the years, brain imaging using MRI has moved from simple volumetric imaging to complex analysis using multiple sequences, allowing the measurement of microstructural integrity and brain activation through a dedicated task or at rest. This review aims at showing how the advent and evolution of magnetic resonance imaging has shaped a better understanding of memory and brain function in humans. We will give a brief overview on the history of MRI, how its evolution brought about concomitant improvement in our understanding of memory systems, going from final-stage observation to risk-prediction via the detection of subtle, but important, alterations in normal brain functioning.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; diffusion tensor imaging; functional MRI; memory; semantic dementia; structural MRI.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy