Functional magnetic resonance imaging in focal CNS damage

Patrizia Pantano, Eytan Raz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Introduction Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) provides the opportunity to map brain areas during the performance of specific tasks. It is mainly used in the field of neuroscience to study functional anatomy in healthy subjects and thus define the neural circuits involved in sensorimotor, cognitive, and emotional processes. Within the clinical context, fMRI offers the possibility of investigating differences between patients with neurological or psychiatric disorders and healthy subjects, in order to understand functional changes induced by disease. Neuroplasticity is a fundamental property of the central nervous system (CNS) – it evolves throughout a person’s life and allows the brain to modify the properties of its neural circuits and to adapt to new conditions according to experience, practice, and learning. The electrical, synaptic, and morphological properties of neurons change constantly to optimize behavioral gain. Adaptive mechanisms of the brain also occur as a response to brain injury. Functional reorganization of adult sensorimotor pathways following injury is now a widely documented phenomenon. A substantial body of information has demonstrated that neuronal properties in sensorimotor circuits can be reorganized in the adult mammalian CNS in response to peripheral or central structure lesions. Following a lesion that impairs the neural pathways subserving a specific function, functional cortical changes may compensate for the lesion, thereby contributing to the maintenance of a normal level of function.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultiple Sclerosis: Recovery of Function and Neurorehabilitation
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9780511781698, 9780521888325
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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