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Psychophysiology. 2003 Jul;40(4):487-91.

Seeing right through you: applications of optical imaging to the study of the human brain.


A new set of techniques allows for the study of brain function by near-infrared light, exploiting two optical phenomena: Changes in light absorption are determined by changes in the concentration of substances like oxy- and deoxyhemoglobin, and changes in light scattering occur as a consequence of variations of properties of membranes and corpuscles in the neural tissue. Methods based on light absorption can be used to study hemodynamic changes in the brain, whereas those based on light scattering can be used to study neuronal activity and to provide anatomical information at a cellular and subcellular level. Three optical imaging approaches can be used to study living tissue: reflection, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and photon migration. These three approaches vary in their penetration (from less than a millimeter for reflection to up to 3-5 cm for photon migration) and spatial resolution (from a micron level for reflection and OCT to a millimeter and centimeter level for photon migration). This issue includes a collection of articles reviewing applications of these technologies to the study of brain and other bodily functions in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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