Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Human Spinal Cord and Brainstem During Heat Stimulation
Cahill C, Stroman P
A novel method for mapping function in gray matter along the entire spinothalamic tract has been developed for the purposes of studying pain in humans. FMRI data span 20 cm and include the entire cervical spinal cord, brainstem, and thalamus. The method used is an adaptation of spinal fMRI methods. Results demonstrate consistent activity in the spinal cord gray matter, the medulla, and in the thalamus. Comparisons of active regions observed with warm and hot stimuli, and with repeated stimuli, demonstrate variations consistent with noxious or innocuous stimulation. This method provides an objective means of studying pain in humans.