Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

The 50th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Neurology

Neuroimaging studies on higher brain functions

Toshikatsu Fujii, M.D.

Department of Behavioral Neurology and Cognitive Neuroscience, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine

For the research on human higher brain functions, both neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies are useful, but each of these two methodologies has merits and demerits. In neuropsychological studies, damaged regions are necessary for the normal execution of cognitive functions underlying the symptoms that patients show. However, it is usually difficult to determine to what extent the lesion has affected a specific psychological subprocess amongst several subprocesses related to the symptoms. On the other hand, in neuroimaging studies, activated regions may not be necessary for but simply participate in a targeted higher brain function. However, if we can set up an adequate experimental design, it provides an opportunity to identify brain regions related to a specific psychological subprocess necessary for the targeted higher brain function. In this symposium, I talked about several neuroimaging studies using positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging. We can take advantage of neuroimaging techniques for the research on human brain functions, but it should be kept in mind that neuroimaging techniques are not the purpose of the research but simply one of the useful means.
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (175K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 49: 933|934, 2009)
key words: higher brain function, neuroimaging, positron emission tomography, functional magnetic resonance imaging

(Received: 22-May-09)