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A Lego employee and physicians at a Danish hospital first developed a Lego model of a magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, machine, in 2015 to help children understand the procedure and feel comfortable before their exams.
After a successful pilot program, Lego said in 2022 that it would donate 600 model MRI scanners to hospitals worldwide.
Undergoing a medical procedure, such as an MRI scan, can be scary, especially for children. Lego is here to help.
Fans of the Danish company’s colorful building blocks might have seen social media posts about a Lego model of a magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, machine, that was created to reassure children who need to have MRIs.
An Oct. 8 Instagram post shared a photo of the Lego MRI scanner and said, "Lego donates model MRI kits to hospitals to help children understand the procedure and reduce their anxiety."
(Screengrab from Instagram)
We learned this toy story is Good Enough to Be True: the Lego MRI scanner is real and the models have been distributed to 600 hospitals worldwide.
Our occasional Good Enough to Be True stories are intended to highlight social media claims about uplifting news that would earn a True rating on our Truth-O-Meter.
Lego’s model MRI scanner started in 2015 as a passion project for Lego chemical technician Erik Ullerlund Staehr and the radiology department at Odense University Hospital in Denmark, Lego said in a February 2022 press release.
MRI is a noninvasive, painless test doctors use to diagnose a variety of medical conditions. The machine uses a strong magnetic field and radio wave energy pulses to produce detailed pictures of a person’s organs and internal body structures, according to Radiology Info, an information website managed by the American College of Radiology and the Radiological Society of North America.
The Lego MRI scanner model consists of 500 pieces and measures 5 inches wide, 10 inches long and 4 inches high, the company said. And because Legos are made of plastic — and are therefore not magnetic — this toy would be considered safe to have near the MRI machine.
MRI scanners make a lot of noise, and to have accurate results, patients must lie still during the exam, which can take up to an hour depending on which body parts are being scanned, Ulla Jensen of Odense University Hospital’s radiology department said in Lego’s press release.
Staehr said in the release that the children he’s seen interact with these MRI models usually feel more relaxed before their scans, "turning an often highly stressful experience into a positive, playful one."
Since the first prototype was made, Lego said the radiology department at Odense University Hospital has used the Lego MRI scanners to help more than 200 children, ages 4 to 9, annually.
The Lego Foundation, which owns 25% of the Lego Group, said in 2022 that it would expand the project by donating 600 MRI models to hospitals with existing pediatric MRI scanning facilities. Lego also developed training videos that show physicians how to incorporate the model in their interactions with children and their families.
We rate the claim that Lego donated model MRI scanners to help children undergoing the procedure feel comfortable Good Enough to be True!
Lego, "The LEGO Foundation to donate LEGO® MRI Scanners to hospitals globally," Feb. 23, 2022
The Lego Foundation’s Learning Through Play, "LEGO MRI Scanner Models," accessed Oct. 17, 2023
Radiology Info, "Pediatric MRI," April 15, 2022
Kaiser Permanente, "Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)," Dec. 18, 2022
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