FILIPINO Radiographer in UK Uses LEGO to Assuage Patient Fears for MRI Scans; Vying to Make Build an OFFICIAL SET

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One of the biggest breakthroughs in medical examination technology has been the development, in the 1970s and 80s, of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This medical imaging technique by means of magnetic fields, gradients and radio waves, has been producing clear visual representations of the human body’s interior and has been extremely helpful in numerous clinical diagnoses. Nevertheless, for all its value a number of medical patients who can benefit from an MRI-informed examination are often leery of the apparatuses used in the procedure, which normally triggers anxieties due to the confined space when the patient lies prone for the scan.

A UK-based Filipino radiographer, Apollo Exconde has known a lot of these uneasy patients that have had issues with the MRI machine at the InHealth Croydon University Hospital. Either they did not like the cramped space for claustrophobic reasons or the MRI coils that do the scanning process are too small to accommodate plus-sized examinees. To reassure patients as Inquirer.net tells it, Exconde proposed to create a scale model build, using Lego bricks, of an “open” MRI machine for plus-size patients or those with anxieties and phobias for enclosed spaces.

Earlier this year the build was then proposed to Lego Ideas, an online platform where user-customized designs can be submitted for a chance to be chosen for mass-production as an official Lego kit under the Ideas label. A product proposal like Exconde’s Open MRI Machine would need 10,000 votes of support from members of the Lego Ideas website to be eligible for review by LEGO staff. Months after its initial posting, the Lego MRI setup has over 4,000 supporters or nearly half the goal, with more than 300 days left to make its 10K quota. Exconde remarked that he used the Lego building-block toy line to demonstrate MRI tech because it appeals to all ages.

Apollo Exconde’s Open MRI design shows a roomier sliding table for the patient to lie down in. The scanner is open not just to the patient’s top and bottom (while lying down) but also his right side, allowing light to enter for a less foreboding and cramped quarters. The Lego set also includes three interchangeable shapes for the MRI coil, shaped to scan examinees’ heads, limbs and torso as needed. The setup also includes a control station where the radiographer, like Exconde will be stationed. Two minifigures, operator and patient, are included in the build.

Images of the Open MRI build by Exconde can be seen on its proposal page at the Lego Ideas website. Registered members of the service will be able to cast their votes for the submission to give it a chance to become an official set.

Image courtesy of LEGO Ideas

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