AuntMinnieTV: fMRI offers insight into retraining the brain

Dear AuntMinnie Member,

Could paralyzed individuals some day learn to walk again by retraining their brains to work around damaged areas? And if so, could medical imaging play a role?

Such questions are at the core of research we're featuring this week on AuntMinnieTV. Our latest segment explores the work of a multicenter group of researchers who used functional MRI to analyze how the brain works to solve a motor-skills problem that's similar to the challenge faced by a person with a neurological impairment like stroke or paralysis.

In the study, fMRI scans indicated that different areas of the brain were activated based on the type of learning task being conducted. Activity took place in areas traditionally associated with learning in previous studies, they said.

The researchers believe that their experiment could lay the groundwork for the development of a brain-machine interface -- a system that could enable a paralyzed person to control an external prosthetic device using the electrical impulses in the brain.

Learn all about the implications of the study by heading to our AuntMinnieTV special section, at www.auntminnie.tv.

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