The Good And Bad Of Functional MRI Studies
Traditional MRI scans are an important tool that can be used to diagnose various ailments. This same technology can be used for functional MRI’s in order to measure brain activity by monitoring blood flow in the brain.
fMRI's are commonly used in psychological studies to help researchers map the brain and access the brain and spinal cord without having to use an invasive procedure. While fMRI’s have helped revolutionize brain mapping, studies have shown that fMRI research may be seriously flawed.
To understand this new study, let’s take a closer look into fMRI technology.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to create images of the body’s organs and internal structures. This technology is used for fMRI to help researchers learn more about the functionality of a normal brain.
fMRI also can give an inside look into diseased brains in order to help give an insight into how cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s occur. Prior to brain surgery, fMRI are useful in detecting structural anomalies and to assess possible risks. fMRI can be used to determine the effects of brain injuries such as stroke, tumors, or head or brain traumas.
While fMRI has helped give insight into how our brains really work, a new study shows that the interpretation of fMRI is seriously flawed.
fMRI scans can offer so much data merely from the image that is created of the brain, but this study argues that not one pair of eyes can possibly analyze all the data. A custom software used to analyze fMRI images was created to analyze the data, but this software has encouraged researchers to question its accuracy.
This computer software has the tendency to suggest differences in brain activity, while they may not even exist. This flaw has made over 4,000 studies to be questionable. Simply put, brains are more complicated than scientists initially thought. Because of its complexity, scientists and computer software are unable to accurately analyze fMRI data.
In conclusion, this new study does not mean all fMRI studies are wrong, but it does claim that these studies are flawed in how the data is analyzed. Scientists are working hard to find how fMRI’s can be used in future studies.