The Center for Functional Brain MRI at the University Diagnostic Institute (fMRI @ UDI) was founded to provide state-of-the-art brain imaging for diagnosing central nervous system disorders. The Center routinely performs the highest quality structural MRI imaging of the brain on a 3.0 Tesla Philips Achieva MRI scanner.
After training in Boston at Harvard's prestigious Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, our Neuroradiologists created a similar center in Tampa. The 3.0 Tesla Philips Achieva MRI scanner at UDI is equipped with the hardware and software needed for optimal performance of functional MRI scans (fMRI), including the latest Avotec presentation and post-processing hardware and software. Our professional and highly trained technical staff has been successfully performing fMRI scans at UDI and at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center for the past 15 years and were able to organize the new fMRI Center around existing the state-of-the-art imaging equipment within University Diagnostic Institute.
"Functional" MRI (fMRI)differs from high-field strength "structural" MRI (sMRI) by its ability to image beyond anatomical detail into the functional workings of the brain, how the brain thinks, and where it all takes place. This is particularly important in surgical planning prior to brain surgery, so that surgeons can avoid inadvertently injuring eloquent brain sites, i.e., not making patients worse after an operation than before.
Beyond that very important task, researchers at the Martinos Center in Boston and UDI in Tampa have been busy mapping regions of the brain where emotions are generated, where memories are stored, and where executive function is located. UDI oarticipates in several national research projects examining into these issues including focus on imaging of the "Default Network" of the brain and how it may be affected by various disease processes.
The specific type of fMRI being utilized in these research projects is known as "BOLD" fMRI, more scientifically known as "neurovascular coupling". As important and exciting as all of this is, there are also other techniques that fall under the general heading of fMRI as well.
Fractional anisotropy (FA), featuring directionally color-coded fiber tracts, can map out deep white matter axonal pathways which connect all of the eloquent sites in the brain identified with the BOLD fMRI. The FA maps can easily be converted into Diffusion Tensor Images (DTI) in which the exquisite neuroanatomy of the connections in the brain are displayed and studied. This is particularly useful in imaging patients with traumatic brain injuries, as well as another adjunct to surgical planning.
MR Spectroscopy (MRS) and Perfusion MRI (pMRI) also fit under the heading of fMRI. MRS deals with in vivo examination of hydrogen spectra in selected regions of brain, while pMRI allows assessment of the amount of blood flowing into and through any portion of brain anatomy. Both of these techniques are also useful for characterizing brain tumors.
All of these fMRI techniques are currently performed in fMRI @ UDI. The full-time, Fellowship-trained staff Neuroradiologists are members of the American Society of Functional Neuroradiology, Senior Members of the American Society of Neuroradiology, and CAQ-Certified by the American College of Radiology in Neuroradiology.