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Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 613465, 9 pages
Review Article

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Imaging Neural Activity in the Human Brain: The Annual Progress

1College of Computer Science and Technology, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310023, China
2National Key Laboratory of Cognitve Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China

Received 29 September 2011; Accepted 25 October 2011

Academic Editor: Carlo Cattani

Copyright © 2012 Shengyong Chen and Xiaoli Li. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is recently developed and applied to measure the hemodynamic response related to neural activity. The fMRI can not only noninvasively record brain signals without risks of ionising radiation inherent in other scanning methods, such as CT or PET scans, but also record signal from all regions of the brain, unlike EEG/MEG which are biased towards the cortical surface. This paper introduces the fundamental principles and summarizes the research progress of the last year for imaging neural activity in the human brain. Aims of functional analysis of neural activity from fMRI include biological findings, functional connectivity, vision and hearing research, emotional research, neurosurgical planning, pain management, and many others. Besides formulations and basic processing methods, models and strategies of processing technology are introduced, including general linear model, nonlinear model, generative model, spatial pattern analysis, statistical analysis, correlation analysis, and multimodal combination. This paper provides readers the most recent representative contributions in the area.