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Imaging For Behavioral Research

Over the past two decades, brain imaging has revolutionized understanding of brain function as the technology allows scientists to literally watch the brain work.

Now, a new state-of-the-art center using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology has been launched by The University of Missouri Department of Psychological Sciences.

The Brain Imaging Center (BIC) will allow MU researchers to conduct behavioral research on diseases that can have tremendous impact, including Parkinson’s disease, autism, schizophrenia and other neurocognitive disorders.

“The Brain Imaging Center is a state-of-the-art neuroimaging research facility that allows us to propose and conduct neuroimaging research on a scale that has not been possible at the university,” said Shawn Christ, assistant professor of psychology in the MU College of Arts and Science.

According to Christ, the BIC will set MU apart from other universities that have restricted access to hospital equipment, and will enhance the school’s faculty recruitment, grant funding and breakthrough research.

MRI technology enables researchers to collect behavioral data by producing pictures of the brain. Human brains respond to certain activities by transferring blood to a specific area.

The magnetic pulses within the MRI machine attract the blood flow and the machine produces a specific image, which gives researchers insight into how the brain functions and the similarities and differences of various mental activities.

“This center has allowed our department, as well as the broader university research community, to remain at the forefront of research on the diagnosis and study of the causes of neurocognitive disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease,” Christ said.

“My laboratory recently initiated a grant-funded project that will utilize the MRI in an effort to increase our understanding of the cognitive and neural dysfunction experienced by individuals with autism.”

MU is one of the few academic institutions to have this technology available on campus and accessible for all departments and surrounding technological, scientific and pharmaceutical industries.

BIC Director Nelson Cowan is studying language and working memory and will use the MRI to investigate the theory that there are parts of the brain that integrate memories from all sensory modalities. The MU scientist also is studying if there is one central area where all information is kept in the brain.

“Research of this kind is a type of philosophy. You’re learning about human consciousness, and the more people understand about the human mind, the better they understand each other,” Cowan said.

Source: University of Missouri

Imaging For Behavioral Research

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Imaging For Behavioral Research. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/10/17/imaging-for-behavioral-research/3154.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.