Why do we need ƒMRI? Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (ƒMRI), refers to a rapidly developing technology that enables the creation of images which reveal localized neural activity in human brains during sensory, motor, and cognitive activity. It is based on observations that show local blood flow and blood oxygenation changes in response to neural activity, which are then registered with advanced applications of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Very specific MRI procedures are used to detect the exact brain location of each cerebral function. These cerebral functions include: understanding and producing language, remembering, visualization, eye movements, and arm, hand, and finger motor movements. Since each brain is as unique as a fingerprint, the exact location of each of these functions varies from patient to patient.
It is important to recognize that no two brains are alike. For this reason, ƒMRI is rapidly becoming the technology of choice for many functional brain activation studies in humans. Since it is non-invasive, it is acceptable for repeated use with adult and child (13y +) volunteers. It is very selectively available. It has shown to date, better spatial and temporal resolution than other systems based on some of the same hemodynamic phenomena, such as PET scans. Compared to PET scanning, or MEG scanning, ƒMRI is far less costly to use and to maintain. By its nature, it is safe.
ƒMRI will be used as a substitute, a non-invasive replacement procedure, for two highly invasive procedures: intraoperative brain mapping surgery, and the Wada test. The Wada is a test for localizing language laterality. Compared to either of these invasive procedures, ƒMRI is less costly, is less risky to the patient, and produces higher quality patient outcomes. ƒMRI generates higher specificity for physicians' decisions.
Who will use ƒMRI? In the very near future, ƒMRI will allow better prediction of surgical outcome for epilepsy, tumor, and ultimately, for stroke patients. Centers that support these clinical services will need to provide ƒMRI.
ƒMRI is difficult to use properly because it is complicated, relies on highly trained personnel, advanced equipment, sophisticated statistical image analyses, accurate reconstruction, registration transmission and storage of images.
MTC provides expertise in solving all these problems.
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