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An accurate assessment of body iron accumulation is essential for the diagnosis and therapy of iron overload in diseases, such as hemochromatosis, thalassemia and other forms of severe anemias. The magnetic iron detector (MID) is a room-temperature susceptometer, which measures the total iron overload in the liver. Since February 2005, about 600 patients have been assessed using this device. The iron overload is obtained by calculating the difference between the measured magnetization signal of the patient and the patient's background signal. The latter is the magnetization signal that the patient would generate with normal iron content. This study presents the method for calculating the background signal of healthy volunteers and the application of the same method to patients with iron burden in order to evaluate their overload. The present MID sensitivity is 0.8 g and the reproducibility of the iron overload measurement of the same patients is lower than 0.5 g. The MID does not require calibration with liver biopsies. We correlated the MID measurements with the results of 26 biopsies (R = 0.62), 64 superconducting quantum interference device susceptometer measurements (R = 0.79), 666 serum ferritin concentration measurements (R = 0.72), and 41 MRI-R2* measurements (R = 0.71).