Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Brain Mapping Test

Let's see if this works....

I'm sitting in a Westwood restaurant, blogging from my Blackberry
handheld. I just finished with my pre-admittance appointment, which
followed the brain-mapping exercise earlier this morning. Both went well.

The brain-mapping - or functional MRI - was much more interesting than my
previous MRIs. First, they gave me headphones and goggles and put on an
old Seinfeld episode for me to watch while they did some 'normal' scans.
I'd forgotten how funny that show was! I had to force myself not to laugh
and move my head during the scans!

Then, we started mapping. This consisted of a series of
vocabulary-related tests. They'd play a short definition - like "you
write with it" - and I'd think (not say aloud!) the answer. Or, I'd see
the definition written out on the 'screen' of my goggles, and I'd have to
think of the word. Or, they'd show me an image - a saw, for example, and
I'd have to think of the word and an action associated with it ("cuts

I should have known that I'd have to keep my head still during the
testing, and so would not be able to speak out loud, but it still amazes
me that they can actually see the brain functioning when you think of a
word. Where is 'saw' located in my brain? Is it next to 'hammer?'. How
are verbs stored, as opposed to nouns? Did they catch the fact that I
sometimes had multiple answers (you can write with a pencil, pen, and
crayon). Did they notice that it took me awhile to think of a 'long,
orange vegetable'?

We all learned in school that our thoughts have physiological analogues in
the brain. Increased bloodflow, synapses firing. It's fascinating that
science has progressed to this point - where doctors can map key areas in
a patient's brain before surgery like this!

I'm just glad I live when and where I do!

I'm now awaiting my final appointment of the day - my pre-op with the

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


This is really interesting! I did not know that this kind of thing (brain mapping) was possible.