Since the inception of magnetic resonance imaging, thousands of studies have appeared in the literature reporting on multiple imaging techniques. However, there is a paucity of neuroimaging research programs developed by nurse scientists.
The purpose of this article is to introduce the nurse scientist to complex neuroimaging methods with the ultimate goal of creating impetus for future use of brain imaging in nursing research.
This article reviews common neuroimaging methods, presents vocabulary frequently used in neuroimaging work, provides information on access to resources in neuroimaging education, and discusses considerations for use of neuroimaging in research.
Ten imaging modalities are reviewed, including structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, positron emission tomography, and encephalography.
Choosing an imaging modality for research depends on the nature of the research question, needs of the patient population of interest, and resources available to the novice and seasoned nurse scientist. Neuroimaging has the potential to innovate the study of symptom science and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration in research.