Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a well-established diagnostic tool that provides detailed information about macroscopic structure and anatomy. Recent advances in MRI allow the noninvasive spatial evaluation of various biophysical and biochemical processes in living systems. Specifically, the motion of water can be measured in processes such as vascular flow, capillary flow, diffusion, and exchange. In addition, the concentrations of various metabolites can be determined for the assessment of regional regulation of metabolism. Examples are given that demonstrate the use of functional MRI for clinical and research purposes. This development adds a new dimension to the application of magnetic resonance to medicine and physiology.
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