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Neuroimaging Methods and Arising Ethical Issues

The human brain is one of the most gripping fields for research. However, it has not been studied in detail yet. The lack of thorough investigation of the brain has resulted from the lack of means to make the research possible. Nowadays, scientists have become enabled to look insight the braincase, thanks to new methods, with neuroimaging among them.

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Neuroimaging is acknowledged to be a general name for a set of methods that allow visualizing the structure, functions, and biochemical characteristics of the brain. The methods are as follows: computer tomography, diffusive optic tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and magnetoencephalography (Breedlove & Watson, 2013). Computed tomography uses a set of x-rays that are directed to the head in many different directions.

It is normally used in the case of craniocerebral injuries. While performing CT, a special computer program is used, which fulfills integral calculations of the evaluated set of the x-rays. It shows how many x-rays are absorbed by the volume of the brain. The information is generally represented by cut sections of the brain (Eickhoff, Nichols, Van Horn, & Turner, 2016).

Diffusive optic tomography is a method of medical visualization that uses infra-red radiation to demonstrate the human body. The technology measures the optic absorption of hemoglobin and relies on its spectrum of being swollen, depending on the saturation of oxygen. Optic signals modified by means of events uses infra-red radiation, which is expected to go through optic fibers and measure the difference in the active parts of the brain. This method can be very strict about identifying brain activity. Its major drawback is that it is not able to identify the activity of neurons, which are located several centimeters in depth (Harvey, 2016).

Magnetic resonance imaging uses magnetic fields and radio waves in order to visualize 2D and 3D images of the human brain structures without using ionizing radiation or radioactive markets (Williams, 2017). Functional magnetic resonance imaging is based on the paramagnetic qualities of oxygenic and deoxygenic hemoglobin. It allows seeing the changes in the circulation of the blood taken into account its activity. Such images show which parts of the brain are active and in what way while implementing different tasks. FMRI can be used for medical purposes and as a means of diagnosis.

FMRI is especially sensitive to the changes in the circulation of blood. It can reveal ischemia. Early diagnostics is crucial, and FMRI is likely to give a chance to make the right solution in terms of treatment. Besides, FMRI can to used to identify thoughts. The further development of the technology might allow identifying what other people see in from of them. This can be used to visualize dreams, as well as to create interfaces for paralyzed people so as to enable them to communicate with others. Besides, it can be used to work out advertising campaigns to battle with terrorism and criminality on the globe (Paul, 2016).

Magnetoencephalography is a neuroimaging method that is used to measure magnetic fields that the electric activity of the brain produces. This method is used in many ways. It might reveal pathologies, localize the functions of the brain parts, and investigate the nervous system (Eickhoff et al., 2016).

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These methods can be used in the research devoted to the human brain investigation. The ethical issue tends to arise. On the one hand, it is helpful to study the brain. On the other hand, some aspect like reading thought or using the technologies to manipulate people does not appear to be fair.

In conclusion, it is necessary to point out that this paper has considered the method of neuroimaging. It has reflected on their use. Besides, it has outlined the ethical matter of the topic.


Breedlove, S. M., & Watson, N. V. (2013). Biological psychology: An introduction to behavioral, cognitive, and clinical neuroscience. Burnaby, Canada: Simon Frazer University.

Eickhoff, S., Nichols, T. E., Van Horn, J. D., & Turner, J. T. (2016). Sharing the wealth: Neuroimaging data repositories. NeuroImage, 124(B), 1065-1068.

Harvey, B. M. (2016). Quantity cognition: Numbers, numerosity, zero, and mathematics. Current Biology, 26(10), R419-R421.

Paul, R. H. (2016). Evolution of neuroimaging technology in the modern era. Technology and Innovation, 18(1), 1-4.

Williams, J. M. (2017). Complex Models of white and gray matter integration following training. Cognitive Neuroscience, 8(2), 129-130.

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