Have MRI’s Only Been Half Right?

The use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies has become fairly routine for brain imaging in the 20 years since the technology was introduced. It is used for a wide range of health issues, from identifying the reasons for chronic headaches to tracking the progression of tumor growth. However, recent research indicates that the reading of functional MRIs may have been flawed for all these years.

This is Your Brain – This is Your Brain Being Active

Many of us are familiar with the images that come from an MRI scan – a brightly colored picture that shows bright areas of color that indicates increased blood flow in active parts of the brain. However, very often, those pictures only show small localized area of bright colors. For two decades health practitioners and patients have been told that these small areas of color mean those are the only areas of the brain affected during activities.

Recently, researchers have begun to question the assumption that the brain is only active in very small portions of the brain, however. By broadening the prospective when reading functional MRIs, health experts gain a larger understanding of how much of the brain is actually active. Instead of small localized areas of the brain lighting up, researchers discovered that larger areas of the brain are used during many activities. While small areas of the brain may have higher levels of blood flow, other regions are also active, indicating that functioning is not limited to only one specific area of the brain.

The good news is that the new information about brain functioning and reading functional MRIs can provide helpful insights into how the brain adapts to illness and damage. There is no question that a functional MRI is a powerful tool in neurology. Now, health providers may be able to understand even better how to help patients and ways to help them adapt when coping with traumatic brain injury or changes in brain functioning.

– The Alternative Daily

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