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Abstract #3717

Heart-Rate Based Analysis of FMRI Data Can Reveal 'lost' Signal Intensity Changes in the Spinal Cord Associated with Distinct Phases of the Human Sexual Response

Natalie Kozyrev1, Chase R. Figley1, Patrick W. Stroman1,2

1Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; 2Departments of Diagnostic Radiology and Physics, Queen's University , Kingston, Ontario , Canada

Here we demonstrate that analysis of spinal fMRI data using the heart-rate as a model paradigm of the sexual response represents a more accurate and sensitive method than performing analysis of identical data using a block stimulation paradigm as a model. Signal intensity changes are revealed in regions of the spinal cord salient to sexual responses, when analyzed with the heart-rate as an indicator of the response, that were previously obscured by analyses using the conventional block paradigm. Cardiac analyses of fMRI data may be extended to studies of other human functions involving the autonomic nervous system.