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Neuroimage. 2012 Aug 15;62(2):1201-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.02.029. Epub 2012 Feb 22.

Evolution and current challenges in the teaching of functional MRI and functional brain imaging.

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  • 1HyperVision, Inc, Lexington, MA, USA.


The report of any new and successful method for studying the world triggers the need to train people in the use of that method. In the case of functional magnetic resonance imaging and its use for examining human brain function in vivo, expertise is required in a greater collection of domains than usual. Development of fMRI training programs started shortly after the announcement of BOLD-based fMRI in humans. These programs had a variety of durations and primary content areas. All programs had to deal with the challenge of bringing interested researchers from a wide variety of areas-many of whom had little or no understanding of MR physics, and/or experimental psychology, and/or the nuances of data analysis and modeling-to a sufficiently detailed level of knowledge that both the funding agencies, and the existing proprietors of the technology (often radiologists or MR physicists at hospitals) would take the research proposals of new investigators seriously. Now that fMRI-based research is well established, there are new educational challenges. Some have to do with the growing list of technologies used to study human brain function in vivo. But perhaps more daunting is the challenge of training consumers of the reports and claims based on fMRI and other brain imaging modalities. As fMRI becomes influential in contexts beyond the research environment-from the clinic to the courtroom to the legislature-training consumers of fMRI-based claims will take on increasing importance, and represents its own unique challenges for education.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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