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What is fNCI?

fNCI is an advanced form of a functional MRI that has been standardized for clinical application. Cognitive FX's fNCI imaging and testing protocol includes three different cognitive tests performed inside an MRI machine. fNCI is measuring neurovascular coupling (NVC), which is the connection between neurons and blood in the brain.  

fNCI gives us over 7000 near real-time images of your brain. By processing these images and comparing them to a healthy control database, we measure and understand the severity of an injury in each region of the brain.

What is NVC and why is it Important

Neurovascular Coupling (NVC) is the connection between neurons (brain cells) and blood vessels. Neurons need a lot of energy to do their job - blood vessels bring that energy to neurons. When an injury or neurological disorder occurs, the connection between blood vessels and neurons can be disrupted. This prevents some regions of the brain from receiving the necessary energy to perform. We call this Neurovascular Coupling Dysfunction.

This results in post-concussion symptoms that include, but are not limited to, fatigue, headaches, attention difficulties, memory issues, sleep problems, and emotional distress.

Most clinics attempt to treat post-concussion syndrome by focusing on symptoms – which is a challenging diagnostic approach for effective treatments. To effectively treat PCS you must treat Neurovascular Coupling Dysfunction. This makes the fNCI brain scan such a powerful tool. fNCI scans show how blood flows throughout the brain while the brain is at work. fNCI detects problems with blood flow and energy by determining where there is too little or too much activity in key regions of the brain.


fNCI Measurements


Functional Systems 

Through our extensive research on concussions and fMRI, we have been able to determine 27 functional systems that are commonly effected by concussions or brain injuries. 

Each functional system represents specific tasks that your brain carries out. These include functions such as attention, word retrieval, and long term memory encoding. 

Each functional system measures specific brain regions that should be activated during that task, and the communication between each of the measured brain regions. The brain regions and the intercommunication of these regions are measured to ensure that there is adequate blood flow to carry out these specific functions that your brain uses on a daily basis. 

Regions of the Brain

fNCI shows which areas of the brain function normally and which areas are hypo-activated. The chart shows blood flow to specific regions of the brain. A normal, non-injured, brain would show a generally straight line right down the middle. ​​

Anything that is extremely low is a measurement of dysregulation in neurovascular coupling (NVC). Marks below the center portion show a lack of blood flow to that area.

fNCI provides valuable insights to understand each patient’s brain. When we can see where the brain is compensating or not enough blood we can target specific treatments to significantly improve the way their brain functions.

Inter-Region Communication

Inter-Region Communication measures the blood flow from one area of the brain to the next.

Think of this communication like a road connecting two stores that you need to go to finish your daily errands. There maybe damage to this road, even if the stores have everything you need. 

If the communication is disrupted, either by too much or too little blood flow, your brain still struggles to properly carry out the task outlined by the functional system we are measuring. 

Anything that is extremely high is a measurement of too much blood flow, or like a crowded street. Where a measurement that is extremely low is showing that there is too little blood flow, similar to a road undergoing significant construction.