How Functional MRI Takes Advantage Over Other Medical Equipment?

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging or functional MRI is one of the advanced technologies of medical science that examines brain function by sampling blood flow at thousands of points in the head over given period of time. While performing a task, doctors apply this imaging modality to produce images pertaining to brain activity. The image created through this technology shows a few functionality of brain in different colors such as red indicates high blood flow and blue indicates low blood flow.

Doctors use these data for various purposes including diagnosing the condition of the patients and also in learning i.e. how brain activity is related to sensory experience and motor function. This is very important information especially when a doctor treats his/her patient through brain surgery.

However, finding and analyzing the relationship between the brain activity and action are complicated task because of the fact that the brain is consistently engaged in multiple cognitive processes. In addition, it is dissimilar to the task to which the subject is directing his attention. Functional MRI provides only an indirect indication of cognitive function because blood flow in the brain is also modulated by extrinsic factors including heart and breathing rate.

Moreover, functional MRI is an interdisciplinary research area that includes:
  • Psychology: To understand the various functionality of this functional MRI science it is necessary to study a few important topics of psychology such as cognitive psychology, psychophysical experiments (it is important because the MRI scanner is used to obtain an extra set of measurements), and electroencephalographic measurements.
  • Neuroanatomy: To understand the functional MRI signals, it is necessary to study the neuroanatomy.
  • Electrophysiology: The knowledge of electrophysiological helps to understand this technology in a better way.
  • Physics: To understand the functional MRI signals and many other related issues, it is necessary to have the knowledge of physics.
These days, functional MRI is widely used in recording the brain signals without any risk of radiation that is inherent in other scanning methods including CT or PET scans.

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