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Seeing brain activity in ‘almost real time’

New technique tracks brain function 60 times faster than traditional fMRI The speed of the human brain is remarkable. Almost immediately upon being exposed to stimuli, neurons are activated, prompting subconscious reactions and, a fraction of a second later, thought. But the speed at which we can noninvasively follow brain function using an MRI is not as impressive. Functional MRI (fMRI), which measures changes in blood-oxygen levels, has revolutionized neuroscience by revealing functional aspects of the brain, but the vascular changes fMRI measures can take up to six seconds in humans — a veritable eon in brain time. In a paper published in Science Advances, investigators from Brigham and W

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