App helps U.K. kids deal with MRI scans

A British physicist has created a mobile app designed to help children cope with their impending MRI scan, according to an article in the Guardian.

Because of the MRI system's loud noise and confining bore, Jonathan Ashmore, PhD, from the department of neuroradiology at King's College Hospital National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust, likened the scanner to a "torture device, something you might see in a James Bond film" in the self-authored piece.

These issues prompted him to create a more positive virtual MRI experience through an app that features 360° videos from insider the MRI system.

After testing the app on a handful of pediatric patients, Ashmore and fellow developers said the children were so enthralled by the technology that they fought in the waiting room to try it.

"An unexpected result was the impact it had on parents," Ashmore wrote. "It's often the parents who are more anxious about their child's upcoming MRI, and this anxiety naturally rubs off on to the child. The play specialist had explained that if you can win over the parents, that's half the battle."

The app is being used at King's College Hospital, the Royal Belfast Hospital, and the Raigmore Hospital.

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