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What is functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging?

MRI is a non-invasive technique (one that doesn't use needles, drugs, or radioactivity). A large magnet takes pictures of the brain using magnetic field and radio-frequency energy. Very sensitive computers detect signals from various brain tissues, which appear as shades of grey, thereby making it possible to distinguish different structures of the brain.

For our research, we use functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to monitor brain activity. This technique provides detailed maps of the brain areas underlying human mental activities. By using fMRI, we are able to see how the brain is functioning while a person is performing a specific task, such as reading. We are not only able to see differences in the structure of the brain, but can measure differences in brain function and activity as well. This information will ultimately be used to provide a basis for designing more effective interventions and methods for early identification of learning disabilities like dyslexia. We complete all fMRI procedures for our studies in the newly established Center for Functional and Molecular Imaging. You can visit this center's website at http://cfmi.georgetown.edu.

For more information about fMRI, please see our FMRI information sheet.

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