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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a cornerstone of medical research and diagnosis. Often, the first step toward the treatment of a disease related to brain health is a thorough MRI exam.
Scientists have developed scans that map the wiring of the brain or which brain regions are used for certain tasks, scans that map blood flow in the brain, and scans that assess myelin sheath insulating the nerve fibres, just to name a few methods. MRI scanners are tremendously versatile.
Like smartphones, which are designed to run a variety of apps, MRI scanners are built to run a wide range of imaging apps. Since MRI does not use harmful radiation or radioactive tracers, patients can be scanned mutliple times in order to closely monitor the effects of new treatments.
MRI scientists at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health use MRI scanners as platforms for the development of apps for mapping the human brain in high detail and with high sensitivity to damage and potential repair.
Damage to the myelin, for example due to multiple sclerosis, affects the functioning of the brain. Small bleeds, on the other hand, appear due to neurotrauma or in Alzheimer’s disease. Together with other advanced MRI techniques, these scans are used to find cures for multiple sclerosis, Parkinson disease, Alzheimer's disease or to improve treatment after neurotrauma.
For more information about MRI research, visit the UBC MRI Research Centre website.