On the characteristics of functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain

Annu Rev Biophys Biomol Struct. 1998;27:447-74. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biophys.27.1.447.


In this review we discuss various recent topics that characterize functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). These topics include a brief description of MRI image acquisition, how to cope with noise or signal fluctuation, the basis of fMRI signal changes, and the relation of MRI signal to neuronal events. Several observations of fMRI that show good correlation to the neurofunction are referred to. Temporal characteristics of fMRI signals and examples of how the feature of real time measurement is utilized are then described. The question of spatial resolution of fMRI, which must be dictated by the vascular structure serving the functional system, is discussed based on various fMRI observations. Finally, the advantage of fMRI mapping is shown in a few examples. Reviewing the vast number of recent fMRI application that have now been reported is beyond the scope of this article.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biophysics / methods
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Neurons / physiology*