Articles on MRI

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Our language abilities are enabled by a co-ordinated network of brain regions that have evolved to give humans a sophisticated ability to communicate. [bastian.]/Flickr

What brain regions control our language? And how do we know this?

When you read this text, certain regions in your brain begin working more than others. Advanced imaging allows scientists to map the brain networks responsible for understanding language.
The brain processes different facial features separately, so how does it tie them together? Shutterstock

How our modular brain pieces the world together

Different parts of our brains process different things, like the facial features, voices and the gait of people we know. But it takes memory to weave them all together into a single picture.
Traumatic events can stop the brain storing the context in which they took place.

The possible cause of flashbacks discovered

Brain imaging study shows that we forget the context in which a traumatic event take place which could be crucial to avoiding negative loops.
Your pain is in fact produced in your head and it will produce it more readily and more intensely if you have what you think is clear evidence that something is wrong. Mislav Marohnić/Flickr

No brain, no pain: it is in the mind, so test results can make it worse

People develop a long-term problem after an episode of back pain if they expect to not recover. Steps by the medical sector to avoid catatrophising back pain by not suggesting scans will help.
While doctors still use their senses for diagnoses, they have technologies to back them up. Alex Proimos/Flickr

From the sweet taste of urine to MRI: how doctors lost their senses

“Diabetic urine”, the surgeon Herbert Mayo wrote in 1832, “is almost always of a pale straw or greenish colour. Its smell is commonly faint and peculiar, sometimes resembling sweet whey or milk.” The use…
Like humans, ‘man’s best friend’ can sense our emotions through voice alone. Flickr/TheGiantVermin

Dogs hear human happiness – it’s in his (or her) master’s voice

Dogs really are our best friends. A study published today in Current Biology shows not only do dogs and humans read emotions in each other’s “voices”, but both are more attuned to “happy” sounds. And the…
Magnetic resonance imaging uses the body’s most abundant molecule – water. Berkeley Lab

The science of medical imaging: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Our short series, the Science of Medical Imaging, examines the technology behind non-invasive methods of creating images of the human body. In this third and final instalment, we look at the basics of…
Many of us love helium balloons but we need to find and conserve more for use in MRI scanners. PA/Matthew Fearn

We’ll all be worse off when the helium balloon pops

Helium is God’s gift to humankind. It’s particularly fantastic for science and medicine and has allowed us to make an enormous number of fundamental advances. We use it for a whole vast array of things…
Each dream has its own brain scan ‘signature’. mondi

An open book: the next chapter of ‘reading’ dreams

You may have read last week that a team of researchers has developed, for the first time, a way to detect the contents of people’s dreams. But what can we glean from this research? During the same week…
Building an accurate brain model is computationally demanding. JamesJam

Computing on the brain: where MRI meets epilepsy treatment

It’s been referred to, somewhat disparagingly, as blobology, but MRI technology has the potential to improve treatment for epilepsy – in part thanks to developments in computing. Identifying where seizures…
Different parts of the brain do different things, but there’s more overlap than you might think. Brain image from

Explainer: the brain

If I had been asked 15 years ago to write a short piece about what the different parts of the brain did, it would have been a fairly straightforward task. Not any more. Over the last 15 years, the methods…

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