Fetal Brain Activity in Response to a Visual Stimulus

Jonathan Fulford, Shantala H. Vadeyar, Senani H. Dodampahala, Rachel J. Moore, Paul Young, Philip N. Baker, David K. James, Penny A. Gowland

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    Previous studies have demonstrated the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to assess fetal brain activity. To extend these studies, a fetal fMRI experiment using a visual stimulus has been performed at 0.5 T. This used a block fMRI paradigm with a bright, constant-intensity light source being shone at the maternal abdomen for 8 sec followed by 16 sec of darkness. This was repeated typically 40 times on nine subjects all of whom were greater than 36 weeks gestational age. Of these, one could not be analysed due to motion, three did not show significant activation, and five showed significant activation (P <0.0085). In all cases, activation was localised within the frontal cortex. Exact localisation was difficult but this may correspond to the frontal eye fields and dorsolateral prefontal cortex. In no cases was significant activation present within the occipital region as would have been expected and was observed in 2/8 adult subjects. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)239-245
    Number of pages6
    JournalHuman Brain Mapping
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


    • Fetal brain activity
    • fMRI
    • Occipital and frontal regions
    • Visual stimulus


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