MRI Imaging

The Brain Aging & Cogntive Health Lab conducts their MRI assessments at a few different locations in Oakland:

  1. MR Research Center in UPMC Presbyterian Hospital
  2. CMU Pitt Brain Imaging Data Generation & Education (BRIDGE) Center in the Mellon Institute Building
  3. Scientific Imaging & Brain Research Center in Wean Hall Carnegie Mellon University's campus


MRI Frequently Asked Questions

What is a MRI?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. During the scan, invisible radio waves are released around you, which bounce off the different substances, like water and blood in your brain.  When processed by a computer, this data becomes images of the brain. 

What Will I Be Asked to Do?

We will ask you to lay as still as possible for 60 to 90 minutes. We do our best to make you as comfortable as possible. We will place a pillow under your knees to keep your back flat, we will provide you with a blanket if you are cold and we will also show you the proper way to insert earplugs because the machine is very loud.

Why do a MRI?

MRI lets us see both structural images (specific areas) and functional images (blood flow) of the brain. This means that we can see what your brain looks like as well as what areas of your brain are working when you are doing a task.

Will It Hurt?

No. You will be lying down and semi-enclosed, just up to your elbows.  It may be slightly uncomfortable because you have to lie completely motionless throughout the duration of the test. But we do our best to make you as comfortable as possible. We will provide a pillow to support your knees, which help keep your back flat, and a blanket if you are cold, ensuring your comfort.

Is it dangerous?

No. MRI uses a powerful magnet instead of radiation avoiding all concerns of x-rays or CT scans.  Also, there are no injections or IVs because no dye is needed for images to show up on the scan. MRI uses the natural magnetic properties of your body to take images of different tissues.

Any Other Questions?

If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Watt, the Neuroimaging Director at (412) 807-8055 or at You will also have an opportunity to discuss any questions with the MRI technologist on the day of your scan.