FUNCTIONAL MRI (fMRI)
The use of functional MRI (fMRI) in neurophysiological pain research and, in a lesser extent, in clinical practice, is an ever-growing field. Research efforts in this field have uncovered the mechanism of brain response to different types of stimuli in health and disease. Imaging pain requires thermal stimulators that can safely and accurately deliver noxious and non-noxious stimuli within a neuroimaging environment for extended periods of time.
The plasticity of the human brain grants momentary or lasting functional changes in response to internal and external processes, like disease or exposure to pain. In some chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia syndrome and chronic low back pain, responses to experimental pain are reflected in abnormal BOLD responses in specific brain regions that are involved in pain processing.
Therefore, imaging brain activity in health and in chronic pain conditions can contribute to understanding the mechanism of chronic pain development, learning which factors affect pain perception, how painful stimuli can affect one's behavior, and more.
Medoc’s TSA2 can be suited with fMRI-compatible thermodes to administer thermal painful and non-painful stimuli within the scanner. The TSA2 can also be used with an fMRI-compatible CHEPS thermode, capable of delivering very rapid heat or cold stimuli. Our TSA2 system has TTL-in and -out capabilities for precise synchronization with MRI scanner. The stimuli can also be controlled using third-party software such as MATLAB™ and E-Prime™, providing flexible and advanced control over the experimental parameters and allowing synchronization with additional stimuli and measures.
TSA2 can be equipped with two thermodes which allow synchronized stimulation of multiple body sites at the same time, from one device and software interface. This can serve for advanced protocols like conditioned pain modulation (CPM) or spatial summation.
Medoc's fMRI systems are used by researchers at the Harvard University Medical School, University of Duisburg-Essen, the University of Toronto, the University of Munich, the University of Birmingham in Alabama, University of Colorado Boulder, the Veterans General Hospital, and National Yang-Ming University in Taipei, and in over 150 other locations worldwide.
Using the TSA2 in the fMRI environment
Our TSA2 system is suitable for use in an fMRI setting with its MRI conditional accessories. The device is situated outside of the Faraday cage while thermodes are inserted into the scanner environment via the penetration panel.
Our fMRI-compatible solutions include:
Dual thermode set-up for simultaneous stimulation by two thermodes through one TSA2 device
TTL Output for triggering external device
TTL Input for triggering the TSA 2 from third-party device
Standard external control capabilities