Introduction to fMRI
Hannah Devlin describes how fMRI works and how it is used to discover how the brain works. With additional contributions by Irene Tracey, Heidi Johansen-Berg and Stuart Clare.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging, or FMRI, is a technique for measuring brain activity. It works by detecting the changes in blood oxygenation and flow that occur in response to neural activity – when a brain area is more active it consumes more oxygen and to meet this increased demand blood flow increases to the active area. FMRI can be used to produce activation maps showing which parts of the brain are involved in a particular mental process.
Click one of the links below or start reading here.
What is fMRI?
History of fMRI
The physiologists who realised that blood flow could reveal brain activity
What does MRI measure?
How a powerful magnet can be used to produce pictures of the brain.
What does fMRI measure?
What makes MRI sensitive to brain activity?
What the coloured blobs on fMRI scans represent.
How is fMRI used?
Who works in an fMRI laboratory ?
The range of people who come together to make fMRI work.
Common criticisms of FMRI
A critical look at what fMRI can tell us.
Clinical and commercial use
How fMRI is being used now, and may be used in the future.
Other brain imaging techniques
fMRI complements a number of other ways of looking at the brain.
Find Out More
FMRI: An introduction to methods
A textbook edited by FMRIB Researchers.
FSL Analysis software
Software developed by the FMRIB researchers and used in fMRI labs worldwide.
A Brief Introduction to fMRI physiology
More detail on how brain activity gives rise to signal change on MRI scans.
FMRI: Methods and Applications
PhD thesis covering MRI image formation and fMRI in detail.