In a first, scientists track human thought by imaging brain activity

Functional magnetic resonance imaging helps in measuring changes in blood oxygenation, which were previously thought to be too slow to detect the subtle neuronal activity associated with higher order brain functions.

Updated: Dec 04, 2016, 14:29 PM IST
In a first, scientists track human thought by imaging brain activity
Scientists have managed to successfully tack human thought by imaging brain activity using fast fMRI

New Delhi: For the first time ever, scientist have managed to successfully tack human thought by imaging brain activity using fast fMRI.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging helps in measuring changes in blood oxygenation, which were previously thought to be too slow to detect the subtle neuronal activity associated with higher order brain functions.

The new discovery that fast fMRI can detect rapid brain oscillations is a significant step towards realising a central goal of neuroscience research: mapping the brain networks responsible for human cognitive functions such as perception, attention, and awareness.

"This work demonstrates the potential of fMRI for mapping healthy neural networks as well as those that may contribute to neurological diseases such as dementia and other mental health disorders, which are significant national and global health problems," said Guoying Liu from the US National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB).

The fMRI works by detecting local increases in oxygen as blood is delivered to a working part of the brain. The technique has been instrumental for identifying which areas in the brain control functions such as vision, hearing, or touch.

(With PTI inputs)