Opinion: Health care needs a new profession: neuroimaging counseling

Until recently, getting an MRI meant traveling to the hospital. But a new generation of more affordable and highly portable MRI (pMRI) devices are rapidly reshaping neuroimaging research and clinical care. The scanner will now come to you. That means the time is ripe for a related innovation: neuroimaging counseling.

While portable MRI is emerging for many body parts, scanning brains with pMRI raises unique ethical concerns. Portable brain MRI devices could soon be available in previously unimaginable settings, like your home or a high school gym. Greater access to these devices will allow greater use of neuroimaging in clinical care. But this technological evolution may also pave the way for an even more radical reality: individuals seeking scans for reasons other than to detect a potential neurologic problem. We envision a future of regular brain-health “check-ups” via portable MRI devices, public health neurologic screening, population neuroscience research involving millions…
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