While MRI’s are commonly used to diagnose various ailments, functional magnetic resonance imaging scans plays another role in the medical imaging world. fMRI utilizes the same technology as traditional MRI, but these functional MRI scans focus on brain activity specifically.
Let’s take a closer look into functional MRI’s.
While they use the same technology, fMRI and traditional MRI scans vary. Specifically, fMRI studies the blood flow in the brain in order to monitor the activity, while traditional MRI scans create images of organs and tissues. By studying the flow of blood through the brain, fMRI’s help researchers, and doctors to learn more about how the brain works.
The history behind fMRI starts in the 1930’s, shortly after the invention of the MRI machine. Chemist, Linus Pauling, discovered that reaction of oxygen-rich blood and oxygen-poor blood to the pull of a magnetic field differently. Ever since this discovery, fMRI has been used to help determine which parts of the brain are most active at a given time.
Psychologists commonly use fMRI to create imaging of normal brain functions. As your brain activity fluctuates, fMRI images help detect the various fluctuations as you perform complex cognitive activities. An example of one of the most simple fMRI experiments is when a subject alternates between performing a particular task. This experiment shows how each are is activated by the stimulating activity.
fMRI play an important role in learning more about cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s, brain and head injuries, and stroke. Functional MRI technology specifically uses brain mapping to help researchers learn more about normal, diseases, and injured brain.
We love how MRI technology cannot only give researchers the ability to learn more about the brain, but they give our radiologists the tools to give our patients the answers they need. To learn more about open MRI, follow this link or give us a call.