Magnetic resonance imaging scans showing the inside of a person's brain.

Magnetic resonance imaging scans showing the inside of a person's brain.

New scanning techniques which allow scientists to look directly inside various parts of the human body are now being used in several departments within the University of Cambridge.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a particularly useful tool that gives scientists a window through which they can look at the body in three dimensions. The technique can be used to detect and measure the extent of diseases such as arthritis and cancer while they are still at an early stage.

On Saturday 25 March, visitors to the university's Herchel Smith Laboratory for Medicinal Chemistry will be invited to come and see for themselves the amazing equipment that allows us to do this.

Professor Laurie Hall will be explaining the benefits of the technique, and showing how MRI can be used to look at damage caused to different parts of the body - both as an aid to clinical diagnosis, and as a way of checking the progress of different medical treatments.

He will also be explaining how Cambridge residents have benefited directly from these scientific advancements - particularly through the Addenbrooke's Hospital Cancer Scanner Appeal fund. Donations to this fund have ensured the availability of a sophisticated scanning service via the Radiology Department of Addenbrooke's Hospital.

The Herchel Smith Laboratory for Medicinal Chemistry, at the Forvie Site in Robinson Way, Cambridge, will be open between 10am and 12pm on Saturday 25 March. Parking is available, although visitors are advised to book a place for this event. Please contact the Information Centre on 01223 766766.

As part of Cambridge University's ongoing National Science Week lecture series, Science at Seven, tonight Dr David Menon of the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre will talk about modern imaging techniques, including MRI, and will demonstrate how different parts of the brain "light up" as they control our daily activities.

See the full National Science Week programme for further details about the rest of this week's exciting events.

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