In 1995, a group of researchers at The Medical College of Wisconsin discovered the resting-state functional MRI (r-fMRI), and wer e the first to demonstrate that the brain is an organ that is never at rest,
even if the body is not performing any activity. The r-fMRI technique can detect the communication occurring between different brain regions at the "resting-state" of the body. Focusing on this topic, the Second International Conference on Resting-State Functional Brain Connectivity will be held in Milwaukee, September,16-19, 2010, and hosted by The Medical College of Wisconsin.
Around 350 scientists and researchers from around the world will be attending the conference, to gain insights into the brain's inner workings. Top neuroscience researchers from North America, Asia, and Europe will be presenting the latest findings in the field of neuroscience. The conference's corporate sponsors include Abbott Laboratories, GE Healthcare, Philips Medical, Siemens Medical, and Toshiba Medical. These are corporations involved in the exploration of using r-fMRI as an aiding tool for diagnosis of brain diseases and disorders. The r-fMRI technique can help clinicians in developing more useful diagnostic tests to detect and understand disease processes, as it provides a fingerprint of a particular disorder. It can also help monitoring disease progression as well as the treatment response.
About resting-state functional MRI
During the process of r-fMRI, the subject is placed in an MRI scanner perfectly still, hence the term "resting-state". Brain images are then acquired through scanning the brain, and the resting-state connectivity is obtained by measuring the connections' strength between two functionally related brain regions in the absence of any stimulus or task. Researchers have shown that differences in connectivity between resting brain regions can detect differences between people based on gender and age.
Neuroscientists using the r-fMRI method are aiming to construct a comprehensive brain connectivity map for the various connections and pathways in the brain, to reveal the inner workings of the "resting brain". Such a map can increase our knowledge about several neurological diseases like Alzheimer's disease, drug addiction, and schizophrenia. It can also help in developing better effective therapies for treatment of injury or illness. According to Christopher Pawela, Ph.D., conference chairman and assistant professor of plastic surgery and biophysics at the Medical College, "This meeting will provide the key researchers in the field the opportunity to interact and bring us closer to revealing some of the tightly held secrets of the brain giving us vital answers to treating diseases."