What is feasible with imaging human brain function and connectivity using functional magnetic resonance imaging

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Whenwe consider all of the methodswe employ to detect brain function, from electrophysiology to optical techniques to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we do not really have a ‘golden technique’ that meets all of the needs for studying the brain.We have methods, each of which has significant limitations but provide often complimentary information.Clearly, there are many questions that need to be answered about fMRI, which unlike other methods, allows us to study the human brain.However, there are also extraordinary accomplishments or demonstration of the feasibility of reaching new and previously unexpected scales of function in the human brain.This article reviews some of the work we have pursued, often with extensive collaborations with other co-workers, towards understanding the underlying mechanisms of the methodology, defining its limitations, and developing solutions to advance it.No doubt, our knowledge of human brain function has vastly expanded since the introduction of fMRI.However, methods and instrumentation in this dynamic field have evolved to a state that discoveries about the human brain based on fMRI principles, together with information garnered at a much finer spatial and temporal scale through other methods, are poised to significantly accelerate in the next decade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20150361
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1705
StatePublished - Oct 5 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work from CMRR reviewed here was supported by NIH grant P41 EB015894 (NIBIB) (previously P41 RR008079 (NCRR)) and NINDS Institutional Center Core Grants to Support Neuroscience Research (P30 NS076408), and the Human Connectome Project (1U54MH091657) supported by the 16 Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health that support the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author(s).


  • Brain
  • Cortical column
  • Cortical layers
  • Functional imaging
  • Neurovascular
  • Resting state


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