phMRI: Methodological Considerations for Mitigating Potential Confounding Factors

Front Neurosci. 2015 May 7;9:167. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2015.00167. eCollection 2015.


Pharmacological Magnetic Resonance Imaging (phMRI) is a variant of conventional MRI that adds pharmacological manipulations in order to study the effects of drugs, or uses pharmacological probes to investigate basic or applied (e.g., clinical) neuroscience questions. Issues that may confound the interpretation of results from various types of phMRI studies are briefly discussed, and a set of methodological strategies that can mitigate these problems are described. These include strategies that can be employed at every stage of investigation, from study design to interpretation of resulting data, and additional techniques suited for use with clinical populations are also featured. Pharmacological MRI is a challenging area of research that has both significant advantages and formidable difficulties, however with due consideration and use of these strategies many of the key obstacles can be overcome.

Keywords: cognitive neuroscience; methodology; neuroscience; phMRI; pharmaco fMRI; pharmocological MRI; phfMRI; psychopharmacology.

Publication types

  • Review