NERVOUS SYSTEM HEALTH

Huge brain scan database is revealing secrets of the mind

Researchers are using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scans to watch how blood flows through active areas of the brain in real time. The scans can be used to produce "maps" of activity during a brain's thought processes, with the maps changing based on what a person is thinking. Globally, researchers run more than 2,000 fMRI studies every year, but currently, there is limited infrastructure for sharing results.

With support from the U.S. National Science Foundation, cognitive neuroscientist Russell Poldrack and a team at Stanford University launched new infrastructure to enable sharing. Called OpenfMRI, the website allows scientists to share their data easily and securely in a standardized format. 

Learn more about the effort in a Science Nation video on the fMRI work, and below Poldrack and Krzysztof Gorgolewski, a post-doctorate student who is also part of the Stanford team, answer questions about the project.