Another update on my adventures at the cal tech emotions lab, co-starring Ralph Adolphs, Dan Kennedy, Katherine Holcomb and perhaps a few others. I was going to have a structural MRI scan which i think the purpose of was to get some baseline measurements of some resting activity of my brain and/or possibly to do connectivity studies using my brain as one of the sample brains. I have written previously in one place about my experiences many years ago being a research subject in a couple of MRI studies with the Eric Courchesne research group in San Diego many years ago. I also wrote about it in a dated blog post from almost two years ago.
Right before I was last a research subject in the Courchesne group, Greg Allen, a graduate student at UCSD at the time, was doing a study involving functional MRI scanning which is different from structural imaging in that you have to do a task while being scanned and it measures the blood flow to various areas of the brain while doing the task. I agreed to be one of the subjects in this study. After a two hour drive to San Diego from L.A. I was not able to fit into the scanner along with the computer equipment that was in the scanner so that the person could do the task. I was not able to participate in that study.
Well, the same thing happened last Wednesday. Apparently the technology of scans has changed and they have to put coil around your head in order to measure the brain. The coil for this machine was quite small and could not fit on my face so I was not able to participate in this study either. Katherine, who is the coordinator of research in the lab, told me that they have another scanner that has a larger coil that would likely fit me but they still did not have the software or other things they needed in that scanner and they would call me, so maybe I will still be able to participate at some point. Of course they do research involving functional MRI as well, so I might not be able to fit with the computer equipment in that one also. But we will see.
I participated in some other studies that were not MRI, such as filling out a questionnaire, evaluating positive and negative emotions on these faces on a computer and taking some stuff that was apparently from an abridged version of the Wechsler IQ test.
Apparently the review board the the CIT emotions lab is under does not allow people to know the results of their scans and is not allowed to show them pictures of their own brains, so I would not have been able to write the same stuff that I wrote in the past about my experiences with the Courchesne group anyhow. However, it was a disappoint that I could not participate as a subject at this time.
I wanted to go to graduate school and become a brain researcher but my disability impaired me from getting there. I have written elsewhere about how rogue neurodiversity researcher Morton Gernsbacher trivialized my dreams. Being able to be a research subject is the next best thing, though not sure how much I will ever know about the brain and autism and ongoing research, let alone transcend the knowledge of Dan Kennedy, Matthew Belmonte, Ralph Adolphs and Eric Courchesne and others as per my pipe dream. So it goes.