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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Bernard D. Coombs, MB, ChB, PhD (University of Colorado Health Sciences Center)
Description: This book presents the physical, and in lesser detail the physiologic, basis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). An overview of underlying physical processes and of the major fMRI techniques is presented in a unified style by a single author.
Purpose: Functional MRI is a rapidly developing field that combines many disciplines into a new field. The purpose of this book is to introduce the underlying physics and how it is applied to detect brain metabolic activity. There is a role for a treatment of fMRI techniques that is accessible and conceptual, but at the same time also provides enough detail to be materially useful to a researcher. Rather than focus heavily on the main basic technique for fMRI studies currently used (BOLD imaging), the author attempts to provide a broader perspective, anticipating future developments. These objectives seem well met.
Audience: The book is intended for graduate students in neuroscience. Enough detail has been included to also make the book useful to neuroscientists actively using fMRI, or new investigators considering applying fMRI to neuroscience of clinical studies — non-physicists wishing to more clearly understand the physical basis of fMRI. The book would also be useful to physics students wishing to taste a new application of NMR and understand how MRI is applied to brain functional mapping.
Features: After an introduction to MRI and to brain energy metabolism, blood flow, and cortical activation, the presentation provides a detailed tutorial review of MR image formation. This includes a modern review of diffusion imaging. Then, after 300 pages, the meat of the book is presented, the reviews of two approaches to functional brain mapping: perfusion imaging and blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) imaging. It is notable that perfusion imaging and BOLD imaging get fairly equal treatment. This broader outlook is deliberate and is a strength of the book. On the downside, as a result of the broad coverage, the current bread and butter fMRI, BOLD imaging, is not discussed in detail until page 389 (out of about under 500 pages). In keeping with the emphasis on the physical rather than on the neurological or the psychological, many details of experimental technique such as paradigm design in relation to specific neuroscience hypotheses are not covered. A researcher looking for the nuts-and-bolts of performing fMRI experiments will need to go elsewhere. The strength of the book is a systematic single author treatment of the basis of fMRI physics accessible to a wide readership. Figures do not use color but are clear. The mathematical component is minimized in the main narrative, but is not ignored, appearing in boxed sections.
Assessment: I recommend this book for its up-to-date, accessible, and conceptual introduction to the field. The accessibility is helped by the book's consistent style and lack of overlap (aided by the single author), which will help make the book suitable for class teaching and self-tutoring. Multiauthor treatments include Functional MRI, by Moonen and Bandettini (Springer Verlag, 2000), Functional MRI: An Introduction to Methods, by Jezzard et al. (Oxford University Press, 2001), and Handbook of Functional Neuroimaging of Cognition, by Cabeza and Kingstone (MIT Press, 2001).