Shayla had an MRI taken at the University of Michigan Medical Center on Jan. 14, 1993 for the purpose of research. Her doctor, Dr. Richard Allen, reported no MRI abnormalities. The white and gray matter and ventricular size were all normal. Her dental braces did degrade some of the signals around the base of the brain and brain stem. The results were nonetheless adequate to prove 99% normal. Shayla gives this account of her "ordeal."

When my Mom first talked about taking an MRI, I imagined a big, scary machine. These experiences didn't bother me when I was younger but now that I'm older I was uneasy that the test might hurt me or cause damage. I had a queasy stomach on the way to the medical center, because I was very worried, but I didn't tell Mom.

I wanted Mom to come in with me for the test. She planned to until she learned she would have to undress, put on a gown, and remove all the pins from her hair. She didn't think it was that necessary. I thought it was!

I climbed on a stool to lay on a long, narrow table which looked much too small for me. They pushed me toward the machine, which was as big as I excepted it to be. It reminded me of the igloo I made one time in school. I entered into the hole of a long, narrow tunnel where something like a football helmet was put over my head. Then the nurse gave me ear plugs to put in my ears since I previously had damage to my eardrum. I soon found out why. When they turned on the camera, it made a very loud noise. It sounded like a bass drum or the boom of thunder during a storm. The noise was interrupted at intervals to let me rest for a few minutes at a time. It was not fun!

I had to lay very still for an hour. If I moved, the pictures would get blurry and they would have to take them over. I did not want that! I was glad I could see through the football helmet glass and see the nurse who was giving me the test. That helped keep me from getting claustrophobia.

I was afraid I couldn't lie still for that long, so they gave me a sedative. It didn't put me to sleep because I fought it. They told me I would come out of the other end of the tunnel, and I believed them. I wanted to be awake when that happened!

They had been teasing me, and I was taken out of the tunnel the same way I went in. I learned that this procedure was not dangerous and I could have relaxed and found it interesting. I hope others will not be afraid if they need to have an MRI.


The MSUD Family Support Group is currently funding several research projects and we are proactively looking for researchers interested in developing new treatments or finding a cure for MSUD. Significant funding is necessary if we are to accomplish this goal.
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