Researchers have released footage from an MRI machine that shows you what the inside of your mouth looks like when you talk.
The team from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (MPIBC) in Germany has also released footage that gives real-time views of a subject's chest. In this astonishing footage, you can see the motion of a person's internal organs as they breathe naturally and their heart beats.
The footage was created using a technique developed in 2010 by Jens Frahm from the MPIBC, who has just been named a finalist in the research category of the European Inventor Award 2018 for his work.
In the first of the two videos, the MPIBC shows off footage of someone's chest. In it you can see the healthy, natural movements of the heart and lungs, as well as the organs of the subject shifting out of the way of the lungs as they inflate.
Using the FLASH2 MRI system that they developed themselves, the team are able to capture video-speed footage of processes within the body. When MRI was invented in 1973 it was slow, requiring several minutes to capture single cross-sectional images. Since then, a team led by Jens Frahm created FLASH MRI (fMRI), which greatly speeds up the process.
“Our idea in the 1980s was to use only part of the available MRI signal for each measurement," Frahm explained in a statement. "This physical trick allowed us to eliminate the pauses completely and to dramatically shorten the measuring times by a factor of at least a hundred."
Roughly 100 million MRI scans are performed around the world every year as a result of this new, speedier system. FLASH2, the latest iteration created by the team, uses a new algorithm to reconstruct the images from a few measurements taken by the machine. This allows an MRI machine to create scans much more quickly, and capture up to 100 images per second.
The system allows doctors to see swallowing processes, as well as heart and joint movements in real time.
It even lets you watch as someone talks inside an MRI machine. This footage released by the Institute shows just that. You can see someone's tongue whipping around their mouth in real time, showing just how much our tongues move as we speak.
The improved system has countless practical applications as it allows medical professionals to view internal mechanisms in real time, and could be used in minor surgeries that are currently performed with the assistance of X-ray machines.
FLASH2 is now being tested on routine patients at various medical universities in Germany, the US, and the UK, with hopes that it will be rolled out to medical professionals everywhere in the near future.