Journal of Neuroscience and Neuropharmacology


Neuroimaging or brain imaging is the use of various techniques to either directly or indirectly image the structure, function, or pharmacology of the nervous system. It is a relatively new discipline within medicine, neuroscience, and psychology. Practical Application. Researchers use a variety of neuroimaging tools to study the brain. Computed tomography (CT) scans are oblique X-ray slices that show the density of brain structures. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses changes in electrically charged molecules in a magnetic field to form images of the brain. Neuroimaging follows a neurological examination in which a physician has found cause to more deeply investigate a patient who has or may have a neurological disorder. One of the more common neurological problems which a person may experience is simple syncope. In cases of simple syncope in which the patient's history does not suggest other neurological symptoms, the diagnosis includes a neurological examination but routine neurological imaging is not indicated because the likelihood of finding a cause in the central nervous system is extremely low and the patient is unlikely to benefit from the procedure. Neuroimaging is not indicated for patients with stable headaches which are diagnosed as migraine. Studies indicate that presence of migraine does not increase a patient's risk for intracranial disease. A diagnosis of migraine which notes the absence of other problems, such as papilledema, would not indicate a need for neuroimaging. In the course of conducting a careful diagnosis, the physician should consider whether the headache has a cause other than the migraine and might require neuroimaging.

Relevant Topics in Neuroscience & Psychology