Question 2

Describe why and how MRI scanners are used to measure brain function with fMRI
From a medical point of view, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) refers to a
therapeutic imaging method utilized in radiology to display images of the physiological
processes and the anatomy of the body (Chen & Li, 2012). MRI technique uses MRI scanners
with radio waves, magnetic field gradients, and strong magnetic fields to form pictures of the
organs in the body. MRI scanners are used by health care providers to diagnose health conditions
from tumors to a torn ligament. Here, the primary purpose is to explore why and how MRI
scanners are applied to measure brain function with fMRI.
Several reasons explain why MRI scanners are useful for examining brain function with
fMRI. A functional magnetic resonance imaging scan (fMRI) is used because it measures and
maps all the brain functions. Both MRI and fMRI use similar technology, and health care
providers use MRI scanner with fMRI because it provides finer details showing the flow of the
blood in different parts of the brain (Chen & Li, 2012). Another reason why MRI scanners are
used with fMRI to measure brain function is the ability to detect brain abnormalities that cannot
be detected when using other imaging techniques. In that regard, fMRI measures the functional
anatomy of the brain to explore which parts of the brain are handling vital roles.
Moreover, fMRI is essential in measuring brain function because it doesn’t use radiation.
The brain is a very critical organ of the body that can be damaged by radiation. Therefore, health
care providers prefer using fMRI to ensure the brain is free from radiation (Chen & Li, 2012).
Other scan techniques such as position emission tomography (PET), computed tomography (CT
scan), and X-rays scans affect the body. Therefore, if fMRI is performed correctly, then it has

virtually no risks. The ability to evaluate brain function safely, effectively, and noninvasively
explain why MRI scanners are used to measure brain function with fMRI.
Another important aspect is to consider how MRI scanners are utilized to measure brain
function with fMRI. Mainly, fMRI is used as the brain-scanning method where health care
provider measures the blood flow in the brain. For effectiveness, fMRI is used when a person is
performing an activity to determine how the brain performs a different function. Therefore, in the
process of measuring brain function, fMRI identifies the activity of the neurons in the brain.
FMRI measures the most active neurons in the brain when a person is performing an activity or
consuming energy. Besides, fMRI detects the changes in the flow of the blood and its
oxygenation in response to neural activity (Chen & Li, 2012). Therefore, once the brain becomes
more active, more oxygen is consumed to allow blood to flow to meet the increased demand for
energy. At that point, fMRI measures the blood flow in the active area of the brain, thereby
forming images.
Mainly, fMRI is used to measure brain function by taking advantage of the fact that
neuronal activation and cerebral blood flow are couples. Thus, when the brain is functioning, an
active area draws blood to the brain, and the flow also increased in other parts of the brain.
During the medical procedures, fMRI uses magnetic resonance imaging scanners to measure the
minute changes in the brain when the blood is flowing to active areas when the brain is
performing a task. In a medical procedure, a health care physician performs fMRI to measure
brain function by examining the functional anatomy of the brain.
FMRI also determines the part of the brain involved in critical roles such as sensation,
movement, and speech. In that regard, the health care provider performs brain mapping using
fMRI (Chen & Li, 2012). The procedure also determines the impacts of degenerative disease,

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trauma, and stroke on the brain. After obtaining imaged from the brain using fMRI, health care
providers can monitor the function and growth of brain tumors. In case there are tumors in the
brain, fMRI is finally used as a guide on how the surgery will be performed. It also acts as a
guide on how radiation therapy and other invasive medication for the brain can be performed.
Overall, after exploring why and how MRI scanners are applied to determine brain function with
fMRI, then one can conclude that fMRI is a diagnostic technique of determining how a diseased,
injured, or normal brain function. It also assists in assessing any potential risks of performing
brain surgery.

Question 6

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the use of human-induced pluripotent stem

cell as a research tool

The technology of research tools keeps changing to accommodate significant health
issues in society. One of the significant developments in research tools is called human induced
pluripotent stem cell. From a medical point of view, human induced pluripotent stem cell is a
new research tool that is generated by reprogramming human somatic and differentiated cells
(Medvedev et al., 2010). The research tool allows the smooth development of many types of
human cells used for therapeutic purposes. However, there have been many controversies about
using human induced pluripotent stem cells as a research tool. Thus, these controversies lead to
its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of human-induced pluripotent stem cell as a research tool
In human-induced pluripotent stem cells, a self-replicating cell is generated from human
fetal tissue. Therefore, the advantage is that the cell will develop into many tissues and cells,
thereby reducing the cost incurred in generating cells. Secondly, human induced pluripotent stem

cells are not derived from human embryos. Generating stem cells from a human embryo is an
ethical concern in the field of medicine. Therefore, the research tool removes the bioethical
issues that allow scientific researchers to obtain support and federal funding to propel their
researcher to another level. Moreover, a human induced pluripotent stem cell has a significant
advantage because it allows the development of isogenic control cell lines via “CRISPR/Cas9
gene-editing” (Medvedev et al., 2010). The gene editing is beneficial because it is genetically
modified to model the phenotypic aspect of a disease.
Another advantage of the research tool in cell-based therapy is its potential application.
Mainly, a human induced pluripotent stem cell has the avoidance of immune rejection. It is
generated from the cells of a patient, which neutralizes ethical concerns that would arise if cells
are derived from the human embryo (Medvedev et al., 2010). Besides, the research tool benefit
scientific researchers due to its unique features such as viable chimeras, teratoma, cell
morphology, long telomeres, and expression of pluripotency markers. The overall advantage is
that the research tool allows the generation of cells from patients suffering from diseases. The
approach can serve as a model to determine the mechanisms causing diseases.
Disadvantages of human-induced pluripotent stem cell as a research tool
Despite the above advantages, human induced pluripotent stem cell is associated with
several drawbacks. First, retroviruses applied during the generation of cells using this technique
as a research tool are associated with cancer. The main explanation of why they are linked with
cancer is because DNA is inserted anywhere in the genome of a cell. Thus, the tool could
increase the likelihood of triggering the growth of cancer cells from cancer-causing genes.
Another disadvantage of using human induced pluripotent stem cells is the issue of the c-Myc
gene. Primarily, c-Myc is used as a reprogramming gene and is known as an oncogene that can

also cause cancer once it is overexpressed. Even if reprogramming is done, the disadvantage is
that the rate of success of human-induced pluripotent stem cells from fibroblasts is as low as 0.02
% (Medvedev et al., 2010). The current reprogramming methods are risky and result in other
drawbacks. For example, the research tool uses viral vectors used in gene delivery, which has
resulted in the integration of viruses that causes tumors and genetic abnormalities.
Moreover, the reprogramming of cells from genes and the subsequent culture of human-
induced pluripotent stem cells has a disadvantage because it can induce epigenetic and genetic
abnormalities. On average, the analysis of human-induced pluripotent stem cells in five points of
mutation indicates that each gene is mutated and has a risk of having causative impacts in cancer
(Medvedev et al., 2010). Another disadvantage is that copy number variations (CNVs) can occur
during the reprogramming process causing genetic mosaicism in the early-passage of human-
induced pluripotent stem cells.
Also, the CG methylation patterns in a human induced pluripotent stem cell are
differential, and their presence can result in failed epigenomic reprogramming. A failed
epigenomic reprogramming in human induced pluripotent stem cells can also arise due to the
presence of CG-DMRs (Medvedev et al., 2010). Therefore, the implications of failed epigenomic
reprogramming are that the application of human-induced pluripotent stem cells in a cell-based
therapy may be affected. Overall, there is not adequate research regarding the viability and
sustainability of human-induced pluripotent stem cells as a research tool for future use. Besides,
further research is needed to enhance a better understanding of the reprogramming process used
in the research tool.


Chen, S. & Li, X. (2012). Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Imaging Neural Activity
in the Human Brain: The Annual Progress. Computational and Mathematical Methods in
Medicine, vol. 2012, no. 2012: Pp. 234-245. Doi: 10.1155/2012/613465.

Medvedev, S.P., Shevchenko, A.I. & Zakian, S.M. (2010). Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells:
Problems and Advantages when applying them in Regenerative Medicine. Acta Naturae,
vol. 2, no. 2: Pp. 18–28.