In this article, a review is made of the current knowledge concerning the physiology and metabolism of neuronal activity, as provided by the application of NMR approaches in vivo. The evidence furnished by other functional spectroscopic and imaging techniques, such as PET and optical methods, are also discussed. In spite of considerable amounts of studies presented in the literature, several controversies concerning the mechanisms underlying brain function still remain, mainly due to the difficult assessment of the single vascular and metabolic dynamics which generally influence the functional signals. In this framework, methodological and technical improvements are required to provide new and reliable experimental elements, which can support or eventually modify the current models of activation.
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- BOLD contrast
- Balloon model
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
- Optical methods