Hospitals nationwide received LEGO MRI scanner sets to comfort and calm children down during medical procedures, making healthcare less intimidating for them.
Most people are familiar with MRIs at hospitals. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an imaging technique used in the field of medicine that utilizes a magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to put together detailed images of organs and tissues in the human body, according to the Mayo Clinic. These machines mostly appear as large, tube-shaped magnets. Owing to their size, many children often find it scary to undergo procedures in it.
Being in the machine can be claustrophobic for many people. The device is commonly used for imaging parts of the brain and spinal cord. The only risk associated with these otherwise useful machines is their safety hazard when it comes to metallic objects. Patients undergoing an MRI exam will undergo a complete questionnaire to firmly establish whether they have metal or electronic devices in their bodies. People can only take in a metal device if it is certified to be safe under an MRI.
While there is no reason for being majorly concerned, the big machine with its sounds can be very off-putting to a child, which is why LEGO has been creating toy sets of MRI machines to make medical procedures easier for kids. The adorable toy sets can be used by radiologists to explain the procedure to kids who might be nervous about it. Since children will find the LEGO MRI scanner to be more relatable, they will be relatively at ease, per My Modern Met.
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The idea came about as a collaborative passion project from LEGO employee Erik Ullerlund Staehr and Odense University Hospital, Denmark, in 2015. After their initial prototype, the team reported that approximately 200 children from the ages of four to nine felt at ease because the LEGO set allowed them to understand that there was nothing to be afraid of. Soon, medical staff in the U.S. and Belgium created their own versions of LEGO MRI scanners.
The @LEGOfoundation donates model MRI Scanners to hospitals to help children understand what is about to happen. Play results in fewer children needs to be sedated before being scanned.— Derek E. Baird (@derekeb) January 23, 2022
(Via Dennis Bjørn Petersen) #LEGO #kidshealth pic.twitter.com/WK2bTiMwBC
All these teams have now joined hands with the LEGO Foundation to develop the toy even further and increase its global reach. Ulla Jensen, who works at the Department of Radiology at Odense University Hospital Denmark, spoke about the machines, saying, "MRI Scanners are huge machines. They also make a lot of noise, which can be very daunting for children. Our team has found that the use of models such as the LEGO model has led to more positive, calm experiences for many children. This benefits the child, their family and also the quality of the MRI scan, which relies on the person being very still for up to an hour to work."
The LEGO® MRI Scanner is finally here and ready to be used. Together with @LEGO_Group, we’re supporting a volunteer-driven idea to make MRIs less scary. We are giving away 600 scanners to the first hospitals that apply & fulfil the criteria. Read more here https://t.co/D87pZplmbR pic.twitter.com/oDyyWSgPlQ— The LEGO Foundation (@LEGOfoundation) February 23, 2022
Seeing just how successful their product became in helping many kids across the world, LEGO has donated 600 of their MRI scanner toy sets to hospitals all over the globe. Volunteers were bought in to assemble the sets and they were then shipped out for free. The company will now work closely with hospitals that received a toy set to listen to their feedback and possible ideas for other designs in the future. To know more about the project and its developments, people can check out LEGO's Learning Through Play website.