Breaking Neuroscience!

1 Apr

New fMRI study sheds light on effectiveness of fMRI studies

Pre-released on Headquarters (brain blog of the Guardian) this morning, are details of a ground-breaking study of fMRI efficiency to be released in the Journal of Knowledge in Neuroscience: General later today. Comments are pouring out from the scientific community stating that these new findings “could change the course of MRI research, and the field of Neuroscience as a whole, for the next 5-10 years… minimum”.

What can imaging technology really tell us of performances of fMRI scanners?

What can imaging technology really tell us of performances of fMRI scanners?

Professor Brian Trecox’s team of international researchers has, for the first time, admitted “most people think that we know a lot about how MRI scanners actually work. The truth is, we don’t”. With the keen insight to spot the void in the literature in this area, this team of neuroscientists has endeavoured to investigate a brand new technique to assess variations in the functioning of 6 brain scanners as they are used during a series of standard experiments (for more details, click here).

This study’s seminal findings exhibit, for the first time, activity in the insular cortex of the scanners. The insular cortex is an area long associated with consciousness and self-awareness, indicating potential for fMRI scanners to detect awareness in other imaging machines.

While the authors note some methodological issues need to be considered when interpreting the results (2 research assistants were also found asleep in scanners during the study), science sceptics have already added their voices to the fray.

Nonetheless, these findings open up a whole new avenue of questions to be answered regarding the use of brain imaging scanners in the future, with the authors concluding that “One way to do this is to look at what’s happening in our giant scanner, and for that, we’re going to need a bigger machine.”

For more information and to read the full article, please click here.

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