Autoregulatory mechanisms are known to occur at many levels throughout the body. Because the details of this phenomenology are strongly influenced by the properties of feedback mechanisms, transitions between states of homeostatic balance and imbalance can be expected to produce transitions that follow a specific sequence. It also can be predicted that the amplitude and dynamics of the transitions will be sensitive to the particular stimulus and its duration, and also to the presence of tissue damage caused by disease or trauma. Here we describe a general approach wherein the method of functional diffuse optical tomography is used to study responses of vascular autoregulation at a previously unrecognized level of detail. Method validation findings also are presented.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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