Joyce, Kelly A. Magnetic Appeal: MRI and the Myth of Transparency. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2008.
In Magnetic Appeal, Kelly A. Joyce investigates the medical dynamics behind the MRI. She dives into the culture, examines its development and emergence as an imaging technology, looks into its popular appeal and acceptance, and its current use in our health care. Even though the importance of MRI has rarely been questioned, Joyce shows how MRI technology developed out of unforeseen circumstances and was accepted for reasons not having to do with patient safety. Through interviews with physicians and MRI technologists, Joyce demonstrates that current beliefs about MRI are strengthened by health care policies and insurance reimbursement practices. Joyce’s analysis of physicians’ and technologists’ methods makes the reader consider that MRI scans do not actually reveal the truth about the body as is popularly believed. They also do not always lead to better outcomes for patients. Magnetic Appeal also discusses questions about the importance of medical imaging technologies in American medicine and culture.
When scanning over this piece, it seems that every chapter of Magnetic Appeal interrogates the MRI from a different angle. Each one questions the cultural assumptions in the social, political, and economic relations that define the use of MRI. Joyce performs a good, credible, and thorough investigation that is simple to follow. The strongest parts of this work are definitely the interviews of physicians and MRI technologists.
This text is useful to the reader because it reveals some shocking truths behind the hidden methods that are used by medical experts. It gives us an understanding of the practices and political economy of MRI. Magnetic Appeal reveals the story of how the MRI gained its popularity and its status as a cultural icon in our society.