chapter  14
34 Pages

Electrical and functional brain imaging

ByPasquale Anthony Della Rosa, Daniela Perani

Men ought to know that from nothing else but the brain comes joys, delights, laughter and sports, and sorrows, griefs, despondency and lamentations. And by this, in an especial manner, we acquire wisdom and knowledge …. And by the same organ we become mad and delirious, and fears and terrors assail us …. All these things we endure from the brain when it is not healthy …. In these ways, I am of the opinion that the brain exercises the greatest power in the man. (trans. 1972)

The history of our quest to understand the brain is certainly as long as human history itself. In the early 1900s, Walter Dandy introduced a process called pneumoencephalography that involved draining the cerebrospinal µuid from around the brain and replacing it with air, altering the relative density of the brain and its surroundings, to cause it to show up better on an X-ray. This technique carried signi•cant risks to the patient under investigation; however, the surgical information given by this method was remarkably precise and greatly enlarged the capabilities and accuracy of neurosurgical treatment. At the beginning of the 1970s the advent of modern neuroimaging techniques brought about a radical change in the application of methods and instruments to assess and quantify brain-behavior relationships.