Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Big steps forward in human functional brain imaging, but collaborations key to patient benefit

Date:
September 6, 2011
Source:
Wellcome Trust
Summary:
Twenty years after the publication of the first human study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) -- a technique to measure activity in the brain through the flow of blood a new article provides reflections on the field of human functional brain imaging.

An MRI of the human head.
Credit: Wellcome Images

Twenty years after the publication of the first human study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)* -- a technique to measure activity in the brain through the flow of blood -- the Wellcome Trust has published a report providing reflections on the field of human functional brain imaging.

The Wellcome Trust report assesses the key developments in human functional brain imaging and examines the role it has played as a funder.

Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, says: "The introduction of fMRI 20 years ago has revolutionised our understanding of how the brain operates. However, whilst it is true that the field has seen immense progress over these two decades, there is still a vast amount to discover and develop if we are to use our new knowledge to deliver benefits to patients."

Between 1990 and 2009, the Wellcome Trust invested 114 million on human functional brain imaging research (2 per cent of the Trust's funding commitment over this time). Of this, approximately 50m was allocated to the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL (formerly the Functional Imaging Laboratory).

Following the introduction of fMRI in humans, the review identifies a range of key breakthroughs in functional brain imaging that have been critical in enhancing our understanding of the brain, including the development of statistical and computational modelling that are helping to revolutionise our understanding of brain function.

The review found that the Wellcome Trust's specific contributions to the field have been in providing long-term and sustained funding for multidisciplinary research hubs, where individuals from a range of disciplinary backgrounds and sectors are brought together, and in providing a sustained stream of funding specifically for equipment, tools and technologies.

In supporting researchers to build independent research careers through its training programmes and fellowships, the Wellcome Trust is thought to have helped ensure the emergence of a number of world leaders in brain imaging research. Today, of the 20 most highly cited authors in brain imaging research worldwide, the top four -- Karl Friston, Ray Dolan, Richard Frackowiak and Christopher Frith -- are all currently, or have recently been, associated with the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging.

While this portfolio review demonstrated the significant progress that has been achieved in the field of human functional brain imaging in the last two decades, it also concludes that there is much to be done before this is translated into patient benefit.

The review identified a number of current challenges and opportunities for the functional brain imaging research community. These include:

  • the need to identify a number of specific goals and targets for human functional brain imaging research
  • a continued need for support for multidisciplinary and multi-sector research hubs
  • a requirement to increase sample sizes in functional brain imaging studies to enhance our understanding of the normal brain and the prevalence of specific conditions
  • the importance of encouraging and facilitating the involvement of clinicians in the development of clinical applications -- to help bring functional brain imaging to the clinic
  • the potential for greater working with industry to bring about developments in molecular imaging and to drive innovation in drug development
  • a need to continue to develop human functional brain imaging techniques and do basic, exploratory research
  • the importance of ensuring we understand the social and ethical implications of brain-imaging research.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wellcome Trust. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Belliveau, D. Kennedy, R. McKinstry, B. Buchbinder, R. Weisskoff, M. Cohen, J. Vevea, T. Brady, B. Rosen. Functional mapping of the human visual cortex by magnetic resonance imaging. Science, 1991; 254 (5032): 716 DOI: 10.1126/science.1948051

Cite This Page:

Wellcome Trust. "Big steps forward in human functional brain imaging, but collaborations key to patient benefit." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110906102614.htm>.
Wellcome Trust. (2011, September 6). Big steps forward in human functional brain imaging, but collaborations key to patient benefit. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110906102614.htm
Wellcome Trust. "Big steps forward in human functional brain imaging, but collaborations key to patient benefit." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110906102614.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Sixteen large food and beverage companies in the United States that committed to cut calories in their products far surpassed their target. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins