“Once you know that [neuroimaging data], you can say that, ‘OK, these brain areas have changed their activation’—let’s say they’ve become more active. That allows you to go back to your intervention and tweak it, so it increases the activation in those areas more and more.”

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used by clinicians across the US to look at brain structure. However, in the last 2 decades, the introduction of functional MRI has allowed for drastic advances in research techniques, by allowing clinicians to measure brain function with MRI.

One of the researchers who has benefitted from these advancements is Glenn Wylie, DPhil, director, Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center, Kessler Foundation. In a conversation with NeurologyLive, he shared insight on the abilities functional MRI has provided researchers and how it has made an impact on the testing of interventions for a number of neurologic conditions.

Additionally, Wylie spoke about how this technique can validate the burden of symptoms being experienced by patients, which in turn can allow for physicians to tweak their intervention to address them. This allows for what he calls a “cyclical process” in which physicians can consistently improve the methods they use to treat patients. One example he used is the validation of fatigue in these patients, which can be done by measuring activation in the areas of the brain which are sensitive to fatigue during tasks.