Neuroimaging Techniques

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  • Created by: Em
  • Created on: 26-05-16 12:20

Functional Neuroimaging

  • Functional neuroimaging allows us to study the brain as it is working 
  • It shows which parts of the brain are working when doing certain mental tasks 

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)

  • Detects and records brain activity by measuring oxygen consumption across the brain 
  • There is no need for radioactive tracers
  • More oxygen will be present in areas of the brain that have more blood flow (which has greater concentrations of oxygen)
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Functional Neuroimaging

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) 

  • Produces coloured images showing brain structure, activity and function
  • Some tasks that PET imaging is used for to show the brain activity/function include
    • Imagining
    • Talking
    • Remembering
    • Listening
    • Reading
  • The images are produced by injecting a radioactive tracer into the bloodstream
  • Where brain regions are active, there is an increase in blood flow, which shows up on the image
    • Dark red when there is a lot of brain activity present 
    • Blue when there isn't much brain activity 
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Structural Neuroimaging

Computerised Tomography (CT) or Computerised Axial Tomography (CAT) 

  • CT scans use x-ray technology to scan the brain at different angles
  • Patients are injected with a substance 'contrast' which is used to highlight the brain's blood vessels in order to interpret the images 
  • Used mostly for seein the shapes and images of the brain 
  • Is useful for revealing abnormalities in the brain structure of mental illness sufferers (such as parkinson's disease or schizophrenia)
  • However CT scans use x-ray technology which is good at showing brain structure but not so good at showing brain tissue

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

  • Uses magnetic fields to vibrate atoms in the brain's neurons to generate a computer image of the brain
  • More detailed and sensitive than CT scans and can be produced in full colour
  • Can display small changes in the brain's anatomy and can distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous issue 
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