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    • Studying the Brain

    Why study the brain?

    The brain is one of the most complex and important parts of our bodies. It is essential to our survival that we always provide it with nutrients to optimize its potential.

    Since we cannot cut open a brain in a living person without consequences, studying the brain is tough. Migraines are still a condition that cannot be properly described because many scientists look soley at the symptoms and cannot pinpoint the cause.

    How is the brain studied?

    Electrophysiology

    By attaching electrodes to the brain we can track the brain’s electrical activity from surface level to a couple of inches deep. Although not effective in tracking migraines, it does track the brain’s voltage differences with migraineurs in comparison to non-migraineurs. Regardless, it is helpful for understanding the brain and how it reacts to different stimuli.

    Analyzing the Blood

    Blood tests are used to measure the amount of glucose and electrolytes in the bloodstream. We can then speculate how these affect the blood flow to the brain.

    Imaging

    X-RAYs provide a small snapshot of the generic brain structure. X-RAYs cannot see soft tissue, but they can be very useful in seeing physical injuries.

    CT Scan

    CT Scans are lots of X-RAYs combined into a better view of what the brain looks like. Usually, iodine dye is used for CT Scans to enhance the view of soft tissues via the blood vessels within.

    MRIs can provide a real-time look of the state of the brain, including soft tissues, but not how the brain functions.

    fMRI

    Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging is an addition to MRI. It is able to capture brain functions while the person is given some tasks in the MRI machine.

    By studying a person's DNA, we can gain a better understanding of their brain's predispositions. Genetic is not a “given,” yet an opportunity.

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