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It takes an unusual mind—or maybe a schizophrenic one—to lie amid the cacophony of an MRI machine and hear music.

Anglo-French actress-singer Charlotte Gainsbourg titled her 2009 album IRM—the French version of “MRI.” When the album was released, she told the music Web site Pitchfork that she underwent several MRI scans after suffering a brain hemorrhage as a result of a 2007 waterskiing accident:

Every time I was in that tube I was thinking it would make great music.

The album’s title song features MRI-like sounds and such lyrics as these: “Leave my head demagnetized./Tell me where the trauma lies,/In the scan of pathogen/Or the shadow of my sin?”

Those are interesting thoughts to have while lying in an MRI scanner, but she’s had an interesting life.

As we mentioned in 2011, an MRI experience inspired the South African-British composer Mira Calix to co-create a set of contemporary classical music/performance pieces called Brainwaves.

Dan Lloyd, PhD, a professor of philosophy at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, “wonders how our squishy brains could be the location of the symphonic kaleidoscope of human consciousness,” according to his profile on the college Web site. His wonderings have led him to create “brainmusic” using functional MRI. He assigns different tones to different areas of the brain. When activity in an area exceeds a certain threshold, that triggers the tone. When activity drops below the threshold, the tone ceases.

Put the tones together, and you get this. Dr. Lloyd is raising money for a feature-length film, Music of the Hemispheres, about his “music of thought hypothesis.” The project’s Web site includes a video called “Brain Blues,” which compares the music of a schizophrenic and a “normal” brain, as played using a blues scale. The schizophrenic music is much more interesting.

And, as pointed out by  Philadelphia public radio station WHYY‘s news site NewsWorks, from which we stole the idea for this post, there’s always the classic scanner music version of “Smoke on the Water.”

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Wireless X-ray devices have proven to be a godsend in disaster areas. But there’s a problem: money. For details, see our Facebook page.

Related CME seminar (up to 12.25 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™): UCSF Musculoskeletal MR Imaging


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