Are these aliens… or human babies? Mind-boggling MRI scans of foetuses are terrifying people
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Possessing menacing eyes and devilish grins, you would be forgiven for assuming these were just aliens from a Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster.
Yet, believe it or not, they are not fake.
Instead, they are genuine MRI scans of human babies in the womb.
Freaked out social media users have joked of their horror at seeing the nightmare-inducing snaps, which were originally posted in 2021.
However, similar scans have resurfaced on social media this week, prompting new comments online about the strange sights.
The MRI image was shared by Twitter user @CaptKarnstein last week. Similar images have been confirmed as legitimate and published by Harvard University papers
Parent’s are not regularly offered MRI throughout their pregnancy and will typically only have the scan if there is a concern for the child’s growth and development
MRI scans are different to ultrasounds. They are only required if a mother or unborn baby requires one for medical reasons.
For example, they can help define and detect neck, thoracic, abdominal and spinal malformations in foetuses, according to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
When used during pregnancy, however, MRIs can produce a very life-like image of their baby.
The detailed black and white images burst the bubble of many parents who blindly believe their tiny tot is going to be adorable through and through.
Dozens of foetal MRI scans were shared on Twitter in 2021 after being unearthed from a Harvard Medical School-backed project.
A Twitter-user said MRIs are discouraged during pregnancy because ‘people would realise they’re incubating nightmare demons and would be rightfully terrified’.
An MRI machine uses and sends magnetics and radio frequency waves into the mother’s stomach to produce these disturbing images of unborn babies
MRI images of babies tend not to get the same social media attention as ultrasound images as the very detailed images can look a little on the demonic side, according to hundreds of social media users
While getting an MRI during pregnancy can be a beautiful and memorable moment to cherish, these hair-raising images seem to have people believing in the devil
Social media users also mocked the startling pictures, claiming they were going to give them ‘nightmares’.
While some suggest they have been traumatised by viewing such discomforting images, others seem to find them comical.
The ‘horrifying’ pictures were later recirculated on Reddit, where users believed the foetus was an extra-terrestrial being.
One user likened an image to a Tim Burton alien movie, while others suggested that it was the spawn of the devil.
The posts went viral, getting hundreds of thousands of likes.
This led to an investigation by fact-checking website Snopes, which probed whether the images were real.
Some social media users were not ready to see the reality of pregnancy and they claimed the images were going to give them bad dreams
Some took the post more lightly and understood the unborn child will not actually look as scary when the mother has given birth
Some users likened the pictures to a 1996 American science fiction film diected by Tim Burton
They confirmed the pictures were real and spoke to a researcher at the University of Wisconsin, who uses MRI technology to study age-related brain changes.
He said the MRI results appear to be authentic and confirmed at least two images in the tweet were previously shared by Harvard researchers.
MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.
The eyes and brain have high levels of ‘signal’ — a radio wave — which causes them to appear brighter and stand out on the scan.
Other parts of the body give off lower levels, and therefore appear darker.
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