Functional Imaging

There are many imaging methods which can be used to analyse the function of the brain. As part of Macquarie MindScan, the main modalities in which functional imaging is conducted are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET).

Function of the brain can be interpreted from advanced magnetic resonance imaging sequences which can visualise fluctuations in the blood flow, flow dynamics, and white matter connectivity and composition. Changes in the blood oxygenation level dependant (BOLD) signal are generally considered to reflect fluctuations in brain activity, enabling inferences to be made about the neural correlates of task performance. Details of the functional MRI sequences routinely conducted are provided.

Macquarie MindScan has access to an impressive list of auxiliary equipment situated within the MRIs at Macquarie Medical Imaging to facilitate stimulus delivery and collect participant responses during an activation study.

Positron emission tomography (PET) utilises radiopharmaceuticals which bind to specific receptors which allow visualisation of the accumulation of different target molecules. For example, the quantification of amyloid plaques within the brain can be achieved with radiopharmaceuticals such as Florbetapir and Florbetaben and has become the gold standard in imaging for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Details of the functional PET sequences routinely conducted are provided.

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