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1. Inside the Brain: Hacks 1–12 > 10. Detect the Effect of Cognitive Function o...

Detect the Effect of Cognitive Function on Cerebral Blood Flow

When you think really hard, your heart rate noticeably increases.

The brain requires approximately 20% of the oxygen in the body, even during times of rest. Like the other organs in our body, our brain needs more glucose, oxygen, and other essential nutrients as it takes on more work. Many of the scanning technologies that aim to measure aspects of brain function take advantage of this. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) [Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: The State of the Art] benefits from the fact that oxygenated blood produces slightly different electromagnetic signals when exposed to strong magnetic fields than deoxygenated blood and that oxygenated blood is more concentrated in active brain areas. Positron emission tomography (PET) [Positron Emission Tomography: Measuring Activity Indirectly with PET] involves being injected with weakly radioactive glucose and reading the subsequent signals from the most active, glucose-hungry areas of the brain.


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