Studying the brain-web pathways with MRI
Here is a nice demo of how MRI can be used to study not only the brain per se, but also how mental functions work as different functional and physical networks. In a really neat study Takanashi et al. in NeuroImage combined fMRI and Diffusion Tensor Imaging, a scanning technique that basically makes it possible to calculate the brain fibers in the brain, i.e. their homogeneity, direction and so forth.
Takanashi et al write:
By combining fMRI and DTI, we show that memory-related areas in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex each connect with memory-related areas in the left temporal cortex. This result suggests there are two pathways between prefrontal cortex and temporal cortex related to the human memory system.
here are some neat images to tease you to read the article:
Basically, it is interesting to see how our understanding of the brain (and mind) now beins to rely increasingly more on multmodal approaches. Of course, while these methods “only” are MRI methods, other combinations with EEG, PET, MEG and so forth definitely provide novel ways to study the brain/mind connections.