MRI Home Preparation

Thank you for visiting our MRI procedure page. To prepare your child for the MRI procedure, we’'d like you to get ready for your visit by doing the following things at home:

Step 1

Watch the Get Ready for Your MRI video with your child:

* The scanner we use for our study is similar but not the same as the one shown in this video.

Step 2

Listen to the MRI sounds. There are seven tracks. 

Here are the sounds that the machine makes. Some of the noises are loud, but they are a normal part of the scan. We suggest that you listen to all the sounds with your child so they know what it sounds like to be in the scanner.

Step 3

MRI Scan Procedure

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a safe neuroimaging technique used by researchers to take pictures of human brain to understand its structure and functions. MRI is non-invasive and do not use X-ray or radiation.

For our study, the MRI scan will take place at the UCSF Neuroscience Imaging Center ( on the UCSF Mission Bay campus. The duration of the MRI scan is approximately 2 hours per person but please note that this is only an estimate. Your child’s needs (such as time required to get comfortable and to set up) may differ from what is listed here.

MRI Training Session

To help your child get comfortable with the MRI, we will simulate the experience beforehand using a toy tunnel and iPad. Your child will practice lying still in the tunnel and doing some of the games they will play during the MRI, while listening to some MRI sounds.

MRI Scan Session

After successful MRI training, your child will be asked to participate in MRI. This is a specialized examination of the head, which will create pictures of the structure and function of the brain. The MRI scan involves lying on a table, then being slid into a large tunnel. The MRI scan uses a magnet to make images (pictures) of the brain. No X-rays or radiation is involved. Except for the loud noise that you will experience in training, there is no sensation of any kind. Your child will be given hearing protection. While in the scanner, your child will be asked to perform some short games and watch a video.

If you would like to participate in our imaging study and have any questions about the procedure, please do not hesitate to ask us any questions.


Video/audio credit: The home preparation video and sound samples were produced by the Stanford Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research (link to original webpage).