Cosmo-not: A Brief Look at Methods of Analysis in fMRI and in Diffusion Tensor Imaging – Paul Taylor

Far too much time has passed without updates on recent AIMS Cosmology seminars. There’s a lot to catch up on, over the last few months we’ve had talks on subjects as diverse  as functional MRI to oscillons in the early universe to disformal gravity and more.

Let me begin with a wonderful seminar Paul Taylor (a postdoc at AIMS) gave us last November on bio-medical imaging.

After outlining his talk for us and drawing some parallels to cosmology, Paul began by giving us an overview of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). He then moved on to explain the fMRI (functional-MRI) is a subset of MRI concerned with understanding how different parts of the brain are used during the performance of various tasks.

Paul outlined an example of a typical fMRI experiment, where MRI is used to look for an increase in blood oxygenation in parts of the brain while the subject performs a repetitive task such as finger tapping. The time dependence of the brain activity is then compared with the stimulus in order to look for correlations.

After explaining how these studies can segment the brain into different regions responsible for different functions, Paul went on to explain how in more detailed studies one can look for “causal” relations in brain activity. 

After detailing various methods such as PCA (principal component analysis and ICA (independent component analysis), Paul finished by summarizing once more the techniques and ideas of MRI analysis. Check out the slides below for more information.

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