This medical video looks at the amazing advancements in being able to scan our brains and actually see our thoughts.
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Jennifer Mathews: It's not science fiction, it's not computer animation. You're looking at the latest in magnetic resonance imaging or MRI. A real brain from a real person. This appears remarkable enough, but now researchers say MRI's can actually see the brain as it thinks. Keith Thulborn: This is really now a single thought, and the image I'm showing you here is actually from a single stimulus. Jennifer Mathews: Being able to detect thoughts, known as functional MRI, excites Doctor Keith Thulborn. Ultimately, he says, functional MRI will help doctors help patients. Keith Thulborn: We would predict that it would be useful in the setting of children with learning disabilities but also in a patient population such as stroke patients, who are recovering from a brain injury. Jennifer Mathews: The functional MRI will also allow surgeons to create a detailed map of brain function. This helps them protect vital areas during surgery that control movement, vision or language. Keith Thulborn: One of the issues a surgeon has is where is the functional areas of the brain that the he has to avoid. Jennifer Mathews: Although it's still waiting for FDA approval, this new powerful MRI is creating quite a buzz. Michael Flannery: This is a breakthrough in my eyes. It's like a uncharted territory, never been done before. Jennifer Mathews: Researchers hope this detailed imaging will pave the way for personalized medicine in the future. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.