A newer form of M.R.I., functional magnetic resonance imaging (f.M.R.I.), used with increasingly sophisticated software, is accomplishing this, taking 'movies' of brain activity. Researchers are able to watch the brain work, as the films show parts of the brain becoming active under various stimuli by detecting areas of increased blood flow connected with the faster firing of nerve cells. These films are difficult to read; researchers puzzle over the new images like Columbus staring at the gray shoreline, thinking, India? Most of the brain is uncharted, the nature of the terrain unclear. But the voyage has been made; the technology exists. Pain--a complex perception occupying the elusive space spanning sensation, emotion and cognition--is a particularly promising area of imaging research because, researchers say, it has the potential to make great progress in a short time.Link.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
In the news: My Pain, My Brain
Here's something timely in the NYT: an article about chronic pain and the use of fMRI feedback to control pain. Snip: