The IRF houses a Siemens 3 Tesla Prisma MRI scanner. Capabilities include structural MRI, functional MRI (fMRI), diffusion and perfusion imaging, and MR spectroscopy. Active tasks can be performed within the scanner using auditory, visual, and tactile delivery methods. Participant responses such as eye blink, skin conductance, heart rate, and respiration have also been recorded during imaging.
High Resolution Anatomical Imaging
The IRF houses a whole body, high field scanner. As a result, it is capable of acquiring high-resolution images of any body part including the brain and spinal cord. These high resolution images can be used in conjunction with both EEG and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
fMRI measures brain activity via oxygen metabolism. This technique, in conjunction with carefully designed behavioral tasks allows for the examination of brain functioning. There are projects exploring object recognition, child development, language processing, problem-solving, cognitive control, among others in the IRF. Additionally research is underway to explore brain functioning differences in clinical populations including schizophrenics, drug abusers and individuals with concussions.
By measuring signal change from the diffusion of water molecules diffusion imaging can characterize the integrity of white matter and map the white matter pathways. The white matter, the axons that connect neurons, allows for the communication between neurons. Understanding how the brain is wired is important in understanding how it functions and how it learns. Additionally, a number of clinical disorders have been shown to be correlated with white matter deficits, including cardiovascular disease and developmental disorders such as dyslexia and autism. Currently there are a number of researchers in the IRF using this technology to explore drug abuse, schizophrenia and child development.
Perfusion imaging allows for the measure of cerebral blood flow and can be useful is the study of cardiovascular disease, stroke and dementia.
MRS allows for the in vivo quantification of neurotransmitters, like GABA, as well as other substances like manganese and iron. These measures can be acquired for specific brain regions. The ability to measure such substances allows for the investigation of differences in the concentration of various neurotransmitters as well as the study of neurotoxicity.