Seeing Stars: Concussions Going out of Style

When people think of the word “technology,” the first items that come to mind are probably the cell phone, computer, or even social media. But technology can be more than tangible objects. Technology can be broken down into three words: apparatus, technique, and organization. Essentially, the word technology can represent a wide range of things, including a way of life—techniques used by a people to survive and grow their society. In this case, the term “technology,” is being used to represent an ideal or even societal norm. These norms can be beneficial or destructive, depending on the nature of the setting or the specific technology.

These ideal-type technologies can be taboo in a culture. A technology that has gone from being taboo in nature, to a topic of debate in sports circles, is concussions in sports. There is a certain technology, or way of thinking and acting, when it comes to this specific type of head injury. This way of thinking has evolved, and with it, the forms of treatment and amendments in policy surrounding concussions, especially in sports. There has been a shift, just in the past decade, in the way concussions are handled and perceived.

Concussions were once thought of as a badge of honor, a symbol of toughness. In the past, players who got their “bells rung” were expected to merely shake it off. It was almost “cool” to get a concussion when playing a sport. This is true not only with concussions, but most injuries in sports. An attitude of toughness is expected, along with the spirit of competition that comes with athletics. But a concussion is much different than a sprained ankle or jammed finger; a concussion is trauma to the brain.

A player who gets a concussion usually sustains some sort of blow to the head, resulting in temporary loss of normal brain function (AANS). The brain is bruised when it collides with the skull after the trauma occurs. In severe cases, the brain will actually swell, potentially causing serious brain damage. Wide ranges of symptoms are associated with a concussion, but the most prevalent symptom is the inability to remember what happened directly before the incident occurred. Other general symptoms include headache, vision disturbances, difficulty concentrating, nausea, confusion, and memory loss (AANS). When left undetected, concussions can result in long-term brain damage and may even prove fatal.

Receiving one concussion will likely not cause permanent damage, but athletes take a risk when they receive multiple concussions. Often times, these concussions occur before the brain has had time to heal, and this has resulted in drastic policy changes concerning diagnosis and treatment in sports.

Concussions are prevalent in all sports, surprisingly, and not just in football. Below, the numbers indicate the amount of sports concussions taking place per 100,000 athletic exposures, regardless of the amount of time played (Head Case):

  • Football: 64-76.8
  • Boys Ice Hockey: 54
  • Girls Soccer: 33
  • Boys Lacrosse: 40-46.6
  • Girls Lacrosse: 31-35
  • Boys Soccer: 19-19.2
  • Boys Wrestling: 22-23.9
  • Girls Basketball: 18.6-21
  • Girls Softball: 16-21.2

It is not surprising which sport has the highest incidence of concussions—football—but it is interesting that concussions occur so frequently in nearly every sport. In fact, when statistics concerning the occurrences of concussions are combined from all sports in the United States, the numbers are staggering (Head Case):

  • 3,800,000 concussions were reported in 2012, double what was reported in 2002.
  • 33% of all sports concussions happen at practice.
  • 39% — the amount by which cumulative concussions are shown to increase catastrophic head injury leading to permanent neurologic disability.
  • 47% of all reported sports concussions occur during high school football.
  • 1 in 5 high school athletes will sustain a sports concussion during the season.
  • 33% of high school athletes who have a sports concussion report two or more in the same year.
  • 4 to 5 million concussions occur annually, with rising numbers among middle school athletes.
  • 90% of most diagnosed concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness.

When analyzing the statistics, it appears that the rate of incidence for concussions has drastically increased over the years. But what is actually happening is that concussions are now being diagnosed, rather than ignored. Concussions are currently the hot-topic in sports, and athletic training staffs are now more thorough in assessing injuries of the head.

It has not been all forward progress in concussion awareness. In fact, for an extended period of time, the National Football League (NFL) hindered efforts to change the perceptions surrounding concussions. Shifts in perception have been due to a variety of factors, all of which come down to discoveries from research. Frontline completed a report on the NFL and concussion research. In the article, Frontline includes a timeline with side-by-side comparisons between research discoveries on concussions, versus actions that were taken by the NFL in response to those research findings.

It is rather disturbing, the great divide between the clear proof presented by the research teams, and how the NFL chooses to respond. Football is a lucrative profession, and the NFL’s best interests do not primarily revolve around player health, but player performance and revenue. The NFL was, and is still, mainly concerned with making the most money possible from players before each succumbs to injury.

The NFL, according to Frontline, misinforms their own players, forming their own committee to do so. This committee was designed to “investigate” the reports of concussions in the NFL and in the sport of football in general. This committee is a sham, according to many players, and is only in place to withhold data and spread misinformation. In doing so, the NFL profits from glorifying violence, at the cost of the players participating. Many of these players end up paying with their lives, with severe and continual head traumas leading to depression, dementia, and suicide.

Not only does the NFL deny that concussions result in increased risk of further brain damage, but the committee also encourages junior and senior high organizations to put aside the research being reported. The NFL is not only playing with the brains of professional adults, but is also putting thousands of growing brains at risk.

It wasn’t until December, 2009 that the NFL finally publically acknowledges the long-term effects of concussions. This was after nearly 20 years of denying constant scientific reports that documented the immediate and long-term effects of concussions in football. It is hard to believe that the NFL faced minimal consequences, only required to pay $765 million dollars in damages (Frontline). In return, the NFL did not have to accept any responsibility. To this day, there is no admission of guilt by the NFL, nor admission that any symptoms presented during or after a career were caused by football.

The extensive research that has been completed disrupts the social relationships between the athlete and the athletic organization. Before in-depth analysis of the consequences of concussions, there was a hierarchy in place in the world of professional athletics. Specifically, the NFL commission provided the football entertainment people demanded, using talented football players to do so. The players were expected to follow the direction of the commission, as the commissioner is in charge of the rules and regulations in the NFL. This can be seen as an authoritarian approach to sports.

The switch in the artifact politics surrounding concussions occurs after the NFL/player lawsuit. The NFL transitioned from an authoritative to a servant role. The commission, in the players’ minds, should serve the players and have the health of the players as the top priority.

Luckily, the sport seems to be heading in the right direction, even with the tampering done by the NFL. There have been sweeping rule changes instituted in college and professional football. In the NFL, kickoffs were brought out by five yards in order to decrease the number of high impact collisions. One has to think, though, that the NFL is making changes only for their own self-interest. The healthier a player, the longer a player will stay in the NFL and make the league more money. It is hard to believe the league actually cares for the players more than their own wallets. If it were not for the push of the media, and a few brave scientists, there would not have been a shift in the way society has started looking at head injuries. For one, society is now looking at concussions as a serious problem in sports. There is still a lot of work and amendments to make in the rulebooks, but it is a start.

While the NFL has made some strides in head injury prevention, other sports, like boxing, still lack proper policy. The irony, and a catch-22 of the modern approach to head-injury, is that although concussions are now going out of style, head-protective equipment is following suit. There is another social stigma about using head protection and other devices that are specifically designed for the safety of its wearer. A good example of this is wearing a helmet when riding a bike or any other recreational activity on a set of wheels. It is strange that people are mocked for wearing a helmet when riding a bike, when it could save a life. Why would someone not want to wear a helmet? The answer always seems to be leaning toward the side of social pressures and not looking “nerdy”.

This is the reason boxing remains a sport lacking a concussion policy. To enforce rules surrounding head injury would completely alter the sport. And then there are pitchers in baseball. Some are beginning to wear head protection, but most choose not to because the headgear are often cumbersome.

This also begs the question, where is the line going to be drawn? At what point is the integrity of the game compromised? And, are the people who are making these decisions swayed by profit, or acting out of true concern for the players?

At some point, the risks have to be accepted by all those involved. Injury is a risk we all face in everyday living, and playing a sport only increases that risk, no matter the sport. People enjoy playing and watching sports for the competitive atmosphere. Society is not going to eliminate high-risk sports entirely, and so, to a point, consequences must be understood and accepted. But a big part of this, is assuring that all parties involved are properly educated, in order to make informed decisions. This is the biggest advantage that comes with the transformation in the technology of concussion, because people are now finally knocking out the “normal” societal views of concussions.

Works Cited:

Ezell, Lauren. “Timeline: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis.” Frontline. PBS, 1 Jan. 2015.

Web. 13 Apr. 2015.

<http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sports/league-of-denial/timeline-the-nfls-concussion-crisis/&gt;.

Head Case. HeadCaseCompany, 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2015.

<http://www.headcasecompany.com/concussion_info/stats_on_concussions_sports&gt;.

“Patient Information.” American Association of Neurological Surgeons. 1 Jan. 2015.

Web. 13 Apr. 2015.

<http://www.aans.org/patient information/conditions and treatments/concussion.aspx>.

Winner, Langdon. Do Artifacts Have Politics? 1986.

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Class Archive

Like many of the other posts on this subject, the most interesting aspect of this archive is just the sheer amount of diversity amongst the authors. This diversity goes beyond just that of topic of choice, but style of writing and the unique backgrounds of each writer had an effect on how each blog post was presented.

The ability for each student to select the topics of the majority of the blog posts allowed a freedom rarely allowed in college level courses. Not only that, but each person was also able to experience what others around them were passionate about. Having writing assignments in blog posts form created an environment of sharing, so that everyone was included in each post. Although it probably never came to mind, we were creating an archive, and through that archive, a community.

For most writing-type courses, each students writing is kept private between the professor and the individual who wrote a piece of writing. Of course, in some classes there may be times when essays are read allowed or shared, but this is still far different from the archive we created throughout this semester. With each blog, we are able to see growth in, of course, the number of posts; but also the growth from basic and easy topics, to abstract discussions.

I enjoyed reading through and commenting on other blog posts, and the consequent class discussions brought up by some of the posts. Specifically, I thought the presentations were especially interesting. It was an opportunity for the blog posts to come to life in whatever form each group chose. Topics of interest that had been written about for weeks were put on display for the class to see, and in many cases, resulted in educating students outside of their own interests. I think it was very cool to go from reading about the topics in a blog format, to then experiencing through presentation.

Writing well is an important skill that I feel is underrated in today’s society. It is important to be able to form words, thoughts, and arguments clearly in written format. This blog allowed a free-flow environment for that growth. The most important lessons you learn in a class, for me at least, are the intangible things you take away by the course’s end. I think it’s unique for a class to be able to witness its own growth in writing and ideals in this blog form. Through this blog, the class slowly created a tangible archive of intangibles, through lessons and discussions, which is probably the coolest part for me.

Money over Matter; Literature Review of Concussions in NFL

One of the main articles I found to be a good source of information concerning the NFL and concussions was a timeline written up by Frontline. The article presents on one side, the independent research done by scientists on concussions in football. Directly opposite of this, Frontline compares the research to public statements made by the NFL concerning concussions and concussion research.

It is rather disturbing the great divide between the clear proof presented by the research teams, and how the NFL responded. Football is a lucrative profession, and the NFL’s best interests are not in player health, but player performance and revenue. The NFL was, and is still, mainly concerned with making the most money possible from players before each one succumbs to injury.

The NFL also misinformed their own players, by forming their own committee. This committee was designed to “investigate” the reports of concussions in the NFL and in the sport of football in general. This committee was a sham, according to many players, and was only in place to withhold data and spread misinformation. In doing so, the NFL profited from glorifying violence, at the cost of the players participating. Many of these players ended up paying with their lives, with severe and continual head traumas leading to depression, dementia, and suicide.

Not only did the NFL deny that concussions resulted in increased risk of further brain damage, but the committee also encouraged junior and senior high organizations to put aside the research being reported. The NFL committee suggested that return to play should come at the discretion of a team physician, saying that it was silly to come up with strict guidelines for possible head trauma. The committee even claimed that NFL players are the result of a selective process which weeds out individuals susceptible to concussions. The NFL is not only playing with the safety of the brains in professional adults, but was also putting thousands of growing brains at risk. Young people are impressionable, and the NFL acted irresponsibly and selfishly.

It isn’t until December of 2009 that the NFL finally publically acknowledges the long-term effects of concussions. This is after nearly 20 years of denying glaring scientific reports that displayed the immediate and long-term effects of concussions in football.

It is hard to believe that the NFL was able to get off nearly scot-free, only having to pay $765 million dollars in damages. In return, the NFL did not have to accept any responsibility. To this day, there is no admission of guilt by the NFL, and still claim any symptoms presented during or after a career were not caused by football.

Luckily, the sport seems to be heading in the right direction, even with the tampering done by the NFL. There have been sweeping rule changes instituted in college and professional football. In the NFL, kickoffs were brought out by five yards in order to decrease the number of high impact collisions. One has to think, though, that the NFL is only making changes in their own self-interest. The healthier a player, the longer a player will stay in the NFL, and make the league more money. I have a hard time believing the league actually cares for the players more than their own wallets. If it were not for the push of the media, and a few brave scientists, there would not have been a shift in the way society has started looking at head injuries. For one, society is now looking at concussions as a serious problem in sports. There is still a lot of work to do and amendments to make in the rulebooks, but it is a start.

Knocking Out Societal Views of Concussions

For this blog post, I would like to fine tune my thesis and focus on concentrating on a single topic concerning concussions. In my last blog post, I created an outline for my paper, using a wide range of research articles and sources. This created a wide range of topics, and gave way to a diluted thesis. Going through the articles, a common theme that I found most interesting was how receiving a concussion is not as “cool” as it used to be.

The ironic part, and the catch-22 of the modern approach to head-injury, is that although concussions are going out of style, head-protective equipment is following suit. There is a social stigma to using head protection and other devices that are specifically designed for the safety of its wearer. A good example of this is wearing a helmet when riding a bike or any other recreational activity on a set of wheels. I find it strange that people are mocked for wearing a helmet when riding a bike when it could save a life. Why would someone not want to wear a helmet? I find the answer to always be leaning toward the side of social pressures and not looking “nerdy”.

This idea of concussions being “cool” of course is most prevalent in entertainment media and sports. In movies and books, characters are constantly “knocked out” by the protagonist; only to awake a few hours later, kidnapped. This is not how it would play out in real life, and serious brain damage would incur if such a thing were to happen.

The main part of my essay, and my thesis, would surround concussions in sports played in America. I would like to examine how entertainment, profit, “fun of the sport” and actually appearing “cool” factor into how concussions are viewed, treated, and policed.

Some sports are doing more than others in prevention and treatment of concussions. Football, for example, is implementing rule changes in the hopes of decreasing the number of high-velocity collisions a player is involved in during while competing. This also begs the question, where do we draw the line? At what point is the integrity of the game compromised? And, are the people who are making these decisions swayed by profit, or acting out of true concern for the players?

At some point, I believe that risks have to be accepted by all those involved. Injury is a risk we all face in every day living, and playing a sport only increases that risk, no matter the sport. People enjoy playing and watching sports for the competitive atmosphere. I do not see society doing away with high-risk sports entirely, and so, to a point, consequences must be understood and accepted.

The disparity between sports is staggering, when you look at the wide range of treatments and rules that are implemented concerning concussions. The “coolness” of concussions seems to correlate with the amount of awareness among the participants of the sport. In football, at least at the present time, there is a relatively high awareness, and concussions are no longer as “cool” as they once were. But in boxing, there are zero policies surrounding concussions, because the main goal of a boxer is to essentially give their opponent a concussion.

Receiving a concussion is damage to the brain, and yet there is so little awareness or education about the subject. Hopefully with sports and entertainment media leading the way in preventative care, brain injuries will no longer be an acceptable side-effect of a good time.

Concussions: Paper Outline with Sources

Introduction

Growing up, I always wanted to play football. My dad had played in high school and my entire family consisted of die-hard Ohio State fans. I dreamt that one day I would play football at Ohio State and have my name on the back of one of those jerseys. But my parents forbid me from playing football.

My parents were very supportive, encouraging me to do everything and anything that I enjoyed. I participated in nearly every sport imaginable, except football. My mom is an occupational therapist, her job consisting of taking care of patients who could not take care of themselves due to brain injury.

Before all of the concussion studies that came about in the late 2000s, my mom knew that the constant sub-concussive forces to the head that were the norm in football, could not be good. Now, new rules are being instituted in sports to protect players from concussions. But these rule changes unfortunately come after a high price.

Go into detail and describe what a concussion actually is

http://www.aans.org/patient%20information/conditions%20and%20treatments/concussion.aspx

This article from the AANS (American Association of Neurological Surgeons) provides an overview of symptoms and causes of a concussion.

Sports that experience concussions

http://www.headcasecompany.com/concussion_info/stats_on_concussions_sports

Show that concussions are very prevalent in nearly every American sport. I want to include the statistics of some of the sports that would seem less likely to have a concussion, like soccer.

http://www.thenewsoutlet.org/2013/01/90-percent-of-boxers-suffer-brain-injuries-only-sport-without-concussion-policy/

Also, I want to compare those sports to boxing, a sport with no concussion policy.

History of research

Research cover-up

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sports/league-of-denial/timeline-the-nfls-concussion-crisis

This link is to the frontline report on how the NFL has handled concussions. Along with that, it also compares that directly, on a timeline, of different research reports that came out. The response and cover-up attempted by the NFL can be seen clearly and gives a good in-depth look at how money seemed to be more important than the health of players.

Long-term consequences

Include the numerous cases of player suicide from constant head trauma and the medical consequences of repeated head injury.

How this new information how sports are played and athletes treated

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/12/04/experts-work-address-concussions-all-sports-not-just-football

This is an article about some rule and policy changes being made by schools/organizations in attempt to decrease the occurrence of concussions. It’s not just football players that are susceptible to head injury, and it might be players of other sports that are at a greater risk of concussions that have a greater risk. Culture of sports may need to change. A lot of emphasis on winning at any cost. Gutting-it out and keep pushing. Playing through the pain. Also, there is so much money in sports that it is sometimes hard to see who the “good guys” are anymore.

New approaches towards concussion treatments

http://www.outsideonline.com/1928476/new-science-concussion-recovery

This article talks about new treatments of concussions. Most physicians and healthcare providers are actually uninformed of these new methods. Nearly all coaches are completely unaware of what symptoms to look for in players. These new treatments could be very beneficial for players if utilized properly by all members of a healthcare team.

Future of concussion prevention and treatment

Boxing still remains as the only sport with out concussion policies. Still a taboo subject

Conclusion

Seeing Stars: Concussions going out of style

Growing up, I always wanted to play football. My dad had played in high school and my entire family consisted of die-hard Ohio State fans. I dreamt that one day I would play football at Ohio State and have my name on the back of one of those jerseys. But my parents forbid me from playing football.

My parents were very supportive, encouraging me to do everything and anything that I enjoyed. I participated in nearly every sport imaginable, except football. My mom is an occupational therapist, her job consisting of taking care of patients who could not take care of themselves due to brain injury.

Before all of the concussion studies that came about in the late 2000s, my mom knew that the constant sub-concussive forces to the head that were the norm in football, could not be good. Now, new rules are being instituted in sports to protect players from concussions. But these rule changes unfortunately come after a high price.

Numerous NFL players have committed suicide, and an even larger number have been diagnosed with dementia because of the head injuries received while playing football.

What I’m most interested in is the fact that concussions are not a new phenomenon, dealing with the most important organ in the body. And yet, many people have been quick to sweep the telling research under the rug in favor of more profits and enjoyment. I want to investigate the history of concussions and the general social acceptance of receiving a brain injury. Until recently, players were encouraged to return to play after receiving a concussion. In boxing, the first boxer to give the other a concussion first, wins. Why is there such a sweeping discrepancy in how brain injury is handled, especially in sports?

Growing up in a household where head safety was the number one priority, I also find it strange there is a social stigma about wearing a bicycle helmet. It is something that could save your life, yet people are mocked for using one. I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want to wear a helmet when riding a bike, other than the fact that it is not considered “cool”.

I guess what the main point I would like to examine is the knowledge and the continual advancements in prevention of head injury. Not only that, I would like to look at how for a time period, head injury was a taboo subject, especially in athletic circles. People with money were able to hinder and even completely halt research that would have saved countless lives.

Concussions should be one of the most concerning injuries in every sport, and what is even scarier, is that the injury can last months or years. There is still much to be learned about contact related brain trauma, but it still begs the question; what sports are worth the risks? At what point, is it not “just part of the game”?

Scanning the Horizon

Medical practices have evolved rapidly over the past century, and with each development, imagining the next medical technology becomes a challenge. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of those technologies, elevating itself as a premier tool for research and clinical care. But this complicated machine brings to the table more than just cool images of the anatomy and physiology of the human body–it allows physicians and patients to interact at a whole other level. But even that is not the entire story. Is MRI, as it is utilized in this immediate era, being held back from its ultimate potential? This life-saving technology could possibly be preventing humans from moving forward in preventative medicine. One thing is certain: MRI will be the next step in the future of medicine, and whether or not it is the masses that control this technology rather than the healthcare system, remains to be seen.

A little background on how an MRI machine works would be helpful in understanding the technology as it pertains to its form of media. An MRI can be thought of as an enormous magnet. The magnets within the machine create a magnetic field around the area of the body that is to be scanned. The majority of the human body is made up of water, and in each water molecule are two hydrogen atoms. So when the magnets create the magnetic field, this causes the hydrogen atoms to emit a radio frequency signal. The type of tissue in which the water molecule resides determines the frequency and length of the signal emitted by the hydrogen atoms. A scanner in the MRI to create a three-dimensional image then records this signal (Gould).

The ability to produce a detailed three-dimensional image of any part of the human body is valuable for both researchers and health-care providers. For neuroscientists doing research, a common practice is to couple MRI with radioactive tagging and record the brain’s reaction to different activities. In doing this, researchers are able to see what parts of the brain “light up” when performing different activities, like watching a scary movie or listening to a romantic novel.

But what truly displays the artifact politics of MRI is its use in a clinical setting. Langdon Winner talks about technologies having politics, either directly or indirectly, in his essay, Do Artifacts have Politics? The idea that technology can change how humans interact and display a political system can be applied to MRI.

The physician-patient interaction is a critical cog in the health-care experience, second only to the actual treatment of whatever is ailing a patient. It is important that a patient feels understood and also understands what is causing a condition that produces discomfort. When a doctor asks a plethora of standardized questions designed for efficiency and proceeds to run multiple tests, a patient can feel out of the loop. The lack of communication between a physician and patient can cause a rift that leads to misunderstanding. The patient does not feel important, but rather, like another case number in a file.

MRI can take away some of the magic, mystique, or general “coldness” that can be felt during a trip to see a health-care professional. Because MRI is non-intrusive, it is safer and less threatening than most exploratory surgeries or blood tests, while still capable of gaining more insight than those conventional methods. Not only that, but because MRI produces such high-resolution images, it is a simple task for a physician to include a patient in reviewing an MRI. That alone is enough to create a dialogue and increase patient-physician communication, enhancing patient understanding. By including a patient in the health-care process, the patient-physician relationship is able to grow and become a positive interaction that may allow a more advanced healing process.

Another feature of MRI that provides a stepping-stone forward in health-care relationships is the ability to supply an answer. Most patients who receive an MRI scan have been struggling with an unresolved condition that is unknown despite other testing methods. When a patient is shown, slice-by-slice, what has been causing a chronic pain or discomfort, a physician is able to provide comfort in providing an answer. A patient is finally able to see for himself what is going on inside the body, producing a constructive relationship of trust with the health-care provider.

On the flip side, however, the line between constructive and destructive is a fine one. These scans can just as easily create a destructive relationship between a physician and patient through the over-reliance on medical practices. Nothing is perfect, including medical procedures, and that same mystique that surrounds health-care can set high expectations on a physician who orders an MRI. When a patient pays the exorbitant price for an MRI, satisfactory results are expected. MRI may provide an answer, but that is not the same thing as a solution. The cause of pain may be discovered, but a physician still may not be able to completely solve the condition. This can cause frustration towards health-care providers, even when the real issue is that humans have much to learn about the practice of medicine.

This whole process of taking an MRI scan takes minimal time, sometimes as little as 20 minutes. But in the process, an MRI produces a magnetic field measured at approximately 1.5 Teslas, which is 30,000 times greater than the magnetic field felt on the surface of the earth. This requires expensive raw materials and up-keep of the machine. The high cost is reflected on the bills of the patients who require the services of an MRI scan, simultaneously deterring doctors from prescribing the procedure to patients who may not be able to afford the steep price tag. The median price of an MRI before insurance coverage was about $1,100, as of 2014 (Glover). More people require the use of MRI than there are health care professionals who can operate and interpret MRI scans. Because there are essentially a few select individuals who “control” the technology of MRI, this could be described as an authoritarian type of technology.

The power of the technology rests in the hands of health care professionals, while patients depend on these providers to prescribe and execute scans. Of course, this is understandable, because the amount of skill and training that goes in to the entire process is just as important as the technology itself. Very few individuals without medical training would be able to perform scans of their own bodies and then analyze those scans for diagnoses.

The technology in MRI having authoritarian roots leads to an ethical issue, nonetheless. MRI serves as a microcosm for healthcare and the issue of availability of healthcare to all people. Like the provision of healthcare, MRI scans can be costly to the consumer, and some insurance companies may not cover the procedure.

This reality is frustrating for many. While MRI can provide information about an existing injury or medical condition that is causing discomfort for an individual, MRI can also be utilized to preemptively detect cancer tumors that are too small for traditional methods of screening to detect. Some forms of breast cancer are so aggressive, that by the time a mammogram detects a tumor, it is often too late.

Early detection is the key for most diseases, and MRI provides that next big step in preventative medicine. We need to look ahead, into the horizon–if this medical procedure could become a basic commodity at physicals and other check-ups, it would transform human life. The true potential of MRI will be achieved when the advanced technology works in harmony with the increased patient/physician interaction. MRI needs to work for the physician, and the physician for the patient. The answer to preventative medicine may not lie in discovering new, more advanced technologies, but maybe in finding methods that allow us to produce and operate our current technologies in such a manner that the general population has access to the numerous health benefits.

Works Cited

Gould, Todd. “How MRI Works.” Howstuffworks. 1 Jan. 2014. Web.

<http://science.howstuffworks.com/mri.htm&gt;.

Glover, Lacie. “How Much Does an MRI Cost?” Nerdwallet. 1 May 2014. Web. 3 Mar. 2015.

<http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/health/2014/05/09/how-much-does-an-mri-cost/&gt;.

Winner, Langdon. Do Artifacts Have Politics? 1986.