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Brain researchers to gather in San Antonio (11/19/97)

The world's leading brain researchers will gather in San Antonio on Dec. 7-8 to present findings at BrainMap '97, an annual conference on brain mapping.

A total of 21 researchers are scheduled to speak. Their work focuses on mapping the brain's anatomy, its functions, and how it responds to stimuli.

The conference is hosted by the Research Imaging Center of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. It will be held at La Mansion Del Rio Hotel.

Topics will include techniques for spatial normalization of brain images, measuring and identifying brain activity, and applications of the techniques to explore neural conditions such as memory and stuttering.

Three faculty members from the Health Science Center will present information at the conference. They are Marty Woldorf, PhD, assistant professor and director of the Research Imaging Center's electrophysiological imaging division, who will discuss how the brain processes auditory and visual stimuli; and conference co-organizers Peter T. Fox, MD, director of the Research Imaging Center, and Jack L. Lancaster, PhD, associate professor of radiology and director of the center's biomedical image analysis division. Dr. Lancaster will chair the session on spatial normalization and registration and present a new approach to 3-D processing of brain images.

Drs. Fox and Woldorf are among a group that has studied the neural relationship to stuttering. The research has provided evidence that stuttering may be due to abnormal activations in brain systems that support speech and hearing. Dr. Lancaster has been instrumental in developing analysis and synthesis methods and computer software to standardize the processing of brain images.

The conferees also will discuss a new method to stimulate the brain for the purpose of recording its functions. Transcranial magnetic stimulation, a non-invasive technique, allows mapping of the central nervous system, and it can activate neural pathways to permit researchers to use positron emission tomography, or PET imaging, to track and map the activity. Guests speaking on this mapping technique will include Eric M. Wassermann, MD, senior investigator with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and Tomas Paus, PhD, assistant professor of neurology at McGill University in Montreal.

For more information about the conference, visit the conference's World-Wide Web site: http://ric.uthscsa.edu/services/97/, or contact Michael P. McGinley, assistant director of the Research Imaging Center, at (210) 567-8159.

Contact: Jim Barrett (210) 567-2570