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what is functional magnetic resonance imaging

Functional magnetic resonance imaging or functional MRI (fMRI) measures brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow. This technique relies on the fact that cerebral blood flow and neuronal activation are coupled. When an area of the brain is in use, blood flow to that region also increases

The primary form of fMRI uses the blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) contrast, discovered by Seiji Ogawa. This is a type of specialized brain and body scan used to map neural activity in the brain or spinal cord of humans or other animals by imaging the change in blood flow (hemodynamic response) related to energy use by brain cells

Since the early 1990s, fMRI has come to dominate brain mapping research because it does not require people to undergo shots or surgery, to ingest substances, or to be exposed to ionising radiation. This measure is frequently corrupted by noise from various sources; hence, statistical procedures are used to extract the underlying signal