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New Applications for fMRI

Researchers at Rutgers University have recently accomplished a feat never before done in an MRI scanner, and only rarely accomplished by most men (present company excluded); capturing the female orgasm.

Using fMRI methodology, which tracks blood flow changes in the brain related to neural activity, graduate student and sex therapist Nan Wise served as the subject to capture the elusive event in action for the world to see. A clip is provided through the link. Don't worry, it only shows the pattern of neural activation, not the experiment itself. Although Wise is looking pretty good for a 54-year-old, so I'll be on the lookout for the in-depth study footage. Now, as to why this is important or worthy of funding; researchers are hoping this can lead to an explanation as to why roughly 25% of women rarely, if ever, have an orgasm during sexual activity. They also believe that this could lead to advances in pain management as well as similar neural regions are involved in both processes. Before concluding I also want to bring your attention to the best line of the article "But Wise, who is both a scientist and a sexual woman, appreciates the intricacies of intimacy."

It was not clear if Wise was the sole participant in the experiment or if a confederate was used.

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  1. In light of recent events (see article about Dutch social psychologist), some wonder if the data in this experiment were faked.