NOV 14, 2019 10:20 AM PST

Examining the Squirrelly Ones: Wearable MEG Scanner that Suits Pediatric Patients

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

Conventional MEG vs Wearable MEG (Wellcome Trust)

In a recent study, a joint research team at the University of Nottingham, University of Oxford, and University College London successfully tested a new type of magnetoencephalography (MEG) system. 

Unlike the conventional MEG scanner, this one is constructed on a 3D-printed helmet and capable of tolerating natural head movements — a feature neurologists have been seeking for their young patients. 

MEG is a neural imaging technique that maps brain activity by recording magnetic fields produced by electrical currents within brain tissues. It uses supersensitive sensors called magnetometers. 

MEG complements other brain imaging modalities such as electroencephalography (EEG), positron emission tomography (PET), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and yet has its advantage. It doesn't get affected by head geometry (unlike EEG), doesn't involve ionizing radiation (unlike PET), and provides a higher temporal resolution as compared to fMRI.

The British team wanted to solve a problem posed by the current MEG systems. The superconducting sensors used in these machines require constant cooling from a cryogenic dewar. The tank-like component sits directly over the test subject's head, restricting the movement of the patient.

Designing a new brain scanner (Wellcome Trust)

The researchers used a new sensor known as the optically pumped magnetometer (OPM) in their wearable MEG system. The OPMs do not need to be cooled during their operation because they measure magnetic fields using infrared lasers. Small and lightweight, these sensors are easy to be mounted on helmets.

They demonstrated in clinical trials that their wearable MEG system performed highly accurate measurements of brain activities in toddlers, young children, teenagers, as well as adults.

Their findings brought a successful conclusion to the collaborative project funded by Wellcome Trust, and also provided a validation for their "lifespan compliant" brain imaging tool.

This study is reported in the journal Nature Communications

Source: Physics World

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
You May Also Like
JAN 03, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Cracking the structural code of nacre
JAN 03, 2021
Cracking the structural code of nacre
Researchers have finally figured out how nacre – also known as mother of pearl – forms its perfect structure ...
JAN 25, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Optimizing laser beams in complex, irregular environments
JAN 25, 2021
Optimizing laser beams in complex, irregular environments
New research published in the acclaimed journal Nature Physics reports that researchers from Utrecht University in the N ...
JAN 28, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Changing the game to enhance the efficiency of carbon capture systems
JAN 28, 2021
Changing the game to enhance the efficiency of carbon capture systems
In a report published recently in the journal Cell Reports Physical Science, researchers from MIT describe an elabo ...
FEB 03, 2021
Microbiology
How Changing Shape Enables Bacteria to Avoid Antibiotics
FEB 03, 2021
How Changing Shape Enables Bacteria to Avoid Antibiotics
Bacteria are survivors, and they can find ways to get around stuff we use to kill them, like disinfectants and antibioti ...
MAR 11, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
More effective way of recycling carbon fibers
MAR 11, 2021
More effective way of recycling carbon fibers
A team from the University of Sydney's School of Civil Engineering has designed a method to improve the recycling of ...
MAY 03, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
What do advances in 3D printing techniques mean for tissue engineering?
MAY 03, 2021
What do advances in 3D printing techniques mean for tissue engineering?
New investigations into the field of customized tissue engineering are reported in the journal Bioprinting. The study wa ...
Loading Comments...