Skip to comments.Brain imaging: fMRI 2.0
Posted on 04/08/2012 11:11:33 AM PDT by neverdem
Functional magnetic resonance imaging is growing from showy adolescence into a workhorse of brain imaging.
The blobs appeared 20 years ago. Two teams, one led by Seiji Ogawa at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, the other by Kenneth Kwong at Massachusetts General Hospital in Charlestown, slid a handful of volunteers into giant magnets. With their heads held still, the volunteers watched flashing lights or tensed their hands, while the research teams built the data flowing from the machines into grainy images showing parts of the brain illuminated as multicoloured blobs.
The results showed that a technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) could use blood as a proxy for measuring the activity of neurons without the injection of a signal-boosting compound1, 2. It was the first demonstration of fMRI as it is commonly used today, and came just months after the technique debuted using a contrast agent in humans3. Sensitive to the distinctive magnetic properties of blood that is rich in oxygen, the method shows oxygenated blood flowing to active brain regions. Unlike scanning techniques such as electroencephalography (EEG), which detects electrical activity at the skull's surface, fMRI produces measurements from deep inside the brain. It is also non-invasive, which makes it safer and more comfortable than positron emission tomography (PET), in which radioactive compounds are injected and traced as they flow around the body.
fMRI has been applied to almost every aspect of brain science since. It has shown that the brain is highly compartmentalized, with specific regions responsible for tasks such as perceiving faces4 and weighing up moral responsibility5; that the resting brain is in fact humming with activity6; and that it may be possible to communicate with patients in a vegetative state by monitoring their brain activity7. In 2010, neuroscientists used fMRI...
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
Wish it could have been around a bit earlier for Terri.
Someone should use it on the Liar in Chief. Not that it would tell us any more than what we already know but it’d be fun watch the excuses flying.
My son has actually had his brain mapped at Charlestown - for free via Mass General / Harvard, in exchange for using the information gathered in the treatment of epilepsy.
It’s quite high tech, a shielded room with a chair not unlike a dentist’s chair with a huge dome over it, without the doors closed it can pick up images of vehicles driving by.
All this and I can’t help but laugh, my son was extremely doped up (not for the fmri) at the time and just had to tell one of the assistants how lovely her breasts were, repeatedly and they were.
She seemed amused, my wife was not.
That said he has had four brain surgeries since (this was about 2002) and is doing fairly well due to the mapping done there.
LOL! Thanks for sharing your son’s story.
IIRC, you’re a radiologist. Any comments on the fMRI story?
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
Funny story about your son’s comments to the assistant. However, like your wife, I would have been so embarrassed had I been present. (I am a woman.)
Glad to hear your son is doing well.
I was also in a doped up state about 2 years ago, and acted in a way that would have embarrassed me had I been straight. I was in for a twofer — routine colonoscopy and a diagnostic endoscopy.
When I was told that I was to receive Propofol, I asked, “Isn’t that the drug that killed Michael Jackson?” I was just curious and not fearful.
The anesthetist took pains to assure me that I would be receiving a much smaller dose than that which took his life. I answered that I was not worried about anything except that I might start singing “Billie Jean”.
Well that’s exactly what I started doing once the drug kicked in. I was singing that and then another song at the top of my lungs. I was aware that I was doing this, but it just seemed okay at the time.
Something tells me they’ll give me something to shut me up next time....
fMRI is a very useful research tool. It’s widely used
at and by University medical centers, in the real world it is a curiosity and is seldom used for routine medical evaluations. It’s a great tool however to determine what
exact area of the brain is responding to a specific stimuli at a specific moment in time.
As we get further along in the evaluation of acute brain injury such as ischemic infarct variations on fMRI will likely become more widely used.
MRI like CT has developed at amazing speed in the past quarter century due in large part to the concurrent explosion in computing power and speed.
When I first entered my profession in the 70’s MRI was
strictly a tool used in the lab to measure very small
amounts of physical material. Even CT was just becoming
available to very large hospitals. The capabilities that
have been developed in the interim would be considered
miraculous if they hadn’t occurred concurrent to all the other technological developments that have occured at the same tim.
I wonder if they will be able to predict those ischemic infarcts that convert into hemorrhagic infarcts?
LOL .. been there, done that .. had nothing to do with medical procedures !
(waaay back in the day ;-)