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Image of a patient in an MRI machine.

Functional MRI

Functional magnetic resonance Imaging (fMRI) is a neuroimaging technique that measures brain activity by looking at changes associated with the blood flow of the brain. When an area of the brain is in use or more active, the blood flow to that region also increases and can be seen by using blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) contrast. This is a special type of brain scan used to map the neuronal activity by imaging the change in blood flow related to energy use by brain cells. At MUSC, we use fMRI to map areas of the brain that are affected by various disorders and look at how using medications or brain stimulation treatment may change the activity in areas implicated by those disorders. In addiction, we use other types of neuroimaging such as diffusion to look at neural circuit connectivity in the brain in various disorders.