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Cerebral Blood Flow

Synonyms

Definition

Blood flow patterns in the brain that serve as an indirect measure of neuronal activity in functional neuroimaging methods.

Description

In contrast to structural imaging techniques, which create high-definition images of the anatomical structures of the brain, functional imaging techniques (including technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging or fMRI; positron emission tomography or PET; and near-infrared spectroscopy or NIRS) permit examination of brain activity by tracking indicators such as cerebral blood flow (CBF), or blood flow patterns throughout the brain. Other related indicators examined by functional imaging techniques include measures of glucose metabolism or blood oxygenation. In general, when cognitively challenging tasks are presented to an individual, CBF increases to the region(s) of the brain most closely associated with performance of those tasks; for this reason,