We used positron emission tomography (PET) to investigate brain regions associated with odor imagery. Changes in regional cerebral blood flow (CBF) during odor imagery were compared with changes during nonspecific expectation of olfactory stimuli and with those during odor perception. Sixty-seven healthy volunteers were screened for their odor imagery (with a paradigm developed in a previous study), and 12 of them, assessed to be "good odor imagers," participated in the neuroimaging part of the study. Imagination of odors was associated with increased activation in several olfactory regions in the brain: the left primary olfactory cortical (POC) region including piriform cortex, the left secondary olfactory cortex or posterior orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), and the rostral insula bilaterally. Furthermore, blood flow in two regions within the right orbitofrontal cortex correlated significantly with the behavioral measure of odor imagery during scanning. Overall, the findings indicated that neural networks engaged during odor perception and imagery overlap partially. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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