Comparing neuroimaging techniques

Professor Wayne Drevets discusses the advantages of using different neuroimaging techniques, such as MEG and PET, to solve particular research questions.

There are a variety of different types of brain imaging modalities, and the reason so many different ones have arisen is because each one has different strengths and limitations. The strengths and limitations often involve tradeoffs between temporal resolution and spatial resolution and then also the different kind of signals they can measure. The temporal resolution basically means how fast can an event in the brain be measured. With imaging you have some measurements that are quite slow in temporal resolution and some that are quite fast in temporal resolution. The fastest one (which can really get at real-time events) would be electrical imaging or magnetic imaging and so magnetoencephalography or MEG would be one of the most popular new imaging modalities. And its advantage is that it can literally measure brain function as fast as the brain is working, with a millisecond time window. In contrast, a PET would be an example of a slow resolution technique, and many of the PET images that we obtain to look at dopamine receptor function or glucose metabolism have a time window (time resolution) that is more on the order of about 10 minutes, and so you can’t measure the fast changes associated with mental operations or cognitive operations so well as you can with imaging modalities with a fast temporal resolution.

imaging, neuroimaging, techniques, meg, pet, spatial, temporal, resolution, magnetoencephalography, brain function, measurements, comparisons, wayne, drevets

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