Brain mapping, or neuroimaging, refers to a number of different techniques that are used to scan your brain and visually represent it on a computer screen. A little over a hundred years ago, when people thought that electrical movements in frog brains were caused by the frog’s spirit, the x-ray was invented. It offered a crude but to some extent successful way of seeing inside the human body. Since then, we’ve come a long way. Let’s look at brain mapping and how it works.
What Are The Main Brain Mapping Methods?
The most common types of brain mapping are functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), positron emission tomography (PET), and CT scans. These technologies can be used to carry out brain mapping without having to do any surgery, and they’re better than x-rays because they emit little or no radiation. They also present a clearer picture than x-rays.
Why Scan The Brain?
Brain mapping has two very important functions. One is brain research. Researchers use the data gathered from these methods to find out which part of the brain handles which functions. Aside from just adding to our overall knowledge about how we work, this knowledge also helps in the treatment of head and spinal cord injuries.
The other reason for brain mapping is to treat illnesses and trauma to the brain directly. We can use brain mapping to diagnose problems like brain cancer, brain lesions, or degenerative disorders. It can also be used to monitor the progress of treatment for these illnesses and prevent them from developing further.
What’s It Like To Get A Brain Scan?
Most brain mapping methods use a huge scanner. You lie down on a table and slide inside of it. The scanner itself is circular with an opening where you go in. Getting your brain scanned is completely painless but it takes quite a while – most techniques take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
It can get a bit uncomfortable lying on a hard table all that time. Plus, there’s often a heavy electrical hum. For this reason, doctors and researchers have taken steps to make the experience more pleasant for their patients by giving them pillows, earphones, and other amenities. Some scanners are even equipped with televisions!
Brain mapping is also important for the future of human health. Brain mapping techniques are constantly improving and what they show us adds to the knowledge that we have about our brains. Much of the territory is still uncharted. What will brain mapping teach us about our minds in the future?
The Function Of Brain Mapping
Brain mapping means using scanning technologies to actually look inside the brain. This is also known as neuroimaging and it includes techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), CT scan and MagnetoEncephaloGraphy (MEG). These use radiation and magnetic fields which, projected onto a computer screen, show what’s going on inside the brain.
Research Into Brain Functions
The main function of brain mapping is to research the different parts of the brain and how they function together. Over a hundred years ago, x-rays gave researchers the first glimpses of the inner working of the brain. Everything we know about the brain today comes from neuroimaging and the clear, detailed pictures it allows us to see by computer. This technology continues to evolve and teach us more about how this amazing organ functions.
Diagnosing Brain Diseases
Another important function of brain mapping is to detect diseases. It’s an important diagnostic tool for doctors. Neuroimaging is most useful for detecting brain cancer. It can see if there’s an abnormal growth and also chart the progress of this growth. Scanning technologies are the main diagnostic tool in determining whether a person suffers from brain cancer or other ailments.
Help With Brain Trauma
Brain mapping is also extremely useful in dealing with trauma to the brain. Brain injuries are especially tricky to deal with because it’s so hard to tell exactly what part of the brain has been damaged. It’s hard to match symptoms with certain areas of the brain because most areas handle so many different functions. For example, disturbances in language ability could indicate that one of several different parts of the brain has suffered damage. One function of brain mapping is to show exactly where trauma has occurred and this is key in choosing the right rehabilitation plan.
How Brain Mapping Works In More Detail
Although they use different means of scanning the brain, all neuroimaging works in a similar way. Your body is placed inside a scanner that usually looks like a large donut. Once inside, it measures brain activity; this could be either electrical impulses or the gamma-ray emissions of radioactive materials given to you. The image is projected on a computer screen for researchers to see. These days, images are extremely sharp and detailed. Images can be saved or printed so that the patient can see them as well.
The main function of brain mapping is to research the parts of the brain and how they work together. But another function of brain mapping, and one that’s more important in many ways, is in diagnosing, monitoring and treating diseases and injuries. As this technology evolves, doctors are better able to use it to treat these ailments effectively.