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History of Neuroimaging: – Angelo Mosso invented the human circulation balance for non-invasive blood redistribution measurement. – Walter Dandy introduced ventriculography in 1918. – Egas […]

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History of Neuroimaging:
– Angelo Mosso invented the human circulation balance for non-invasive blood redistribution measurement.
– Walter Dandy introduced ventriculography in 1918.
– Egas Moniz introduced cerebral angiography in 1927.
– Allan McLeod Cormack and Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield developed computerized axial tomography (CT scanning) in the early 1970s.
– Peter Mansfield and Paul Lauterbur developed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the 1980s.

Neuroimaging Techniques:
– Computed axial tomography (CT scanning) uses x-rays to view brain injuries and presents information as cross-sections of the brain.
– Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce high-quality brain images without ionizing radiation.
– Positron Emission Tomography (PET) measures emissions from radioactively labeled metabolically active chemicals in the bloodstream to show blood flow, oxygen, and glucose metabolism in brain tissues.
– Single-photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) uses gamma ray-emitting radioisotopes and a gamma camera to reflect cerebral blood flow and differentiate disease processes causing dementia.
– Cranial ultrasound is used in babies due to open fontanelles allowing brain imaging, with advantages like absence of ionizing radiation and bedside scanning.

Functional Neuroimaging Techniques:
– Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) relies on paramagnetic properties of hemoglobin to see changing blood flow in the brain and reveals brain structures and processes associated with perception, thought, and action.
– Diffuse Optical Imaging measures optical absorption of hemoglobin and provides results comparable to fMRI in language tasks and connectivity.
– Event-Related Optical Signal measures changes in optical properties of active brain areas and provides a direct measure of cellular activity within millimeters and milliseconds.
– Magnetoencephalography measures magnetic fields from brain electrical activity with high temporal resolution and is used in surgery localization and brain function research.
– Functional Ultrasound Imaging detects changes in neural activities or metabolism through blood flow or hemodynamic changes, providing high sensitivity blood flow imaging.

Advantages and Concerns of Neuroimaging Techniques:
– Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) is non-invasive with minimal-to-moderate risk and preferred over methods requiring radioactive markers, with concerns regarding metallic objects in the body.
– Computed Tomography (CT) Scan provides quick results but exposes patients to high radiation levels, leading to concerns about overuse in asymptomatic patients.
– Positron Emission Tomography (PET) exposes patients to minimal radiation and has lower temporal resolution compared to fMRI.
– Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and Electroencephalography (EEG) offer high temporal resolution without radiation exposure, with MEG being more expensive than EEG systems.

Future Trends and Research in Neuroimaging:
– Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has dominated brain mapping and has practical applications in brain-computer interfaces.
– Whole-brain MRI achieved high spatial resolution in 2019, and research continues to advance imaging capabilities.
– Wearable magnetoencephalography moves towards real-world applications, and new technologies like Quantum Optically-Pumped Magnetometer offer novel approaches to brain scanning.
– Research focuses on machine learning applications in understanding biomarkers of behavior and comparing different imaging modalities for brain mapping and functional studies.

Neuroimaging (Wikipedia)

Neuroimaging is the use of quantitative (computational) techniques to study the structure and function of the central nervous system, developed as an objective way of scientifically studying the healthy human brain in a non-invasive manner. Increasingly it is also being used for quantitative research studies of brain disease and psychiatric illness. Neuroimaging is highly multidisciplinary involving neuroscience, computer science, psychology and statistics, and is not a medical specialty. Neuroimaging is sometimes confused with neuroradiology.

Para-sagittal MRI of the head in a patient with benign familial macrocephaly
PurposeIndirectly (directly) image structure, function/pharmacology of the nervous system

Neuroradiology is a medical specialty and uses non-statistical brain imaging in a clinical setting, practiced by radiologists who are medical practitioners. Neuroradiology primarily focuses on recognising brain lesions, such as vascular disease, strokes, tumors and inflammatory disease. In contrast to neuroimaging, neuroradiology is qualitative (based on subjective impressions and extensive clinical training) but sometimes uses basic quantitative methods. Functional brain imaging techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), are common in neuroimaging but rarely used in neuroradiology. Neuroimaging falls into two broad categories:

  • Structural imaging, which is used to quantify brain structure using e.g., voxel-based morphometry.
  • Functional imaging, which is used to study brain function, often using fMRI and other techniques such as PET and MEG (see below).
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