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
JUL 09, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Can we use electricity to clean up toxic wastewater?
JUL 09, 2020
Can we use electricity to clean up toxic wastewater?
Scientists from the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Sydney have figured out how to ...
JUL 19, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Did interstellar organic material form water on Earth?
JUL 19, 2020
Did interstellar organic material form water on Earth?
A recent study published in Scientific Reports sheds light on how our planet’s water could have first come to be. ...
JUL 28, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Self-healing polymer modeled after squid ring teeth protein
JUL 28, 2020
Self-healing polymer modeled after squid ring teeth protein
Scientists have developed a biodegradable biosynthetic polymer that mimics squid ring teeth proteins in their ability to ...
AUG 28, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Interacting Time Crystals and the Future of Time Keeping
AUG 28, 2020
Interacting Time Crystals and the Future of Time Keeping
Time crystals, also known as the space-time crystals, is a newly discovered state of matter that demonstrates distinct s ...
SEP 12, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Colorimetric sensor detects presence of airborne pathogens
SEP 12, 2020
Colorimetric sensor detects presence of airborne pathogens
The development of a novel colorimetric sensor may bring some mental relief to your COVID-19 anxieties. According to the ...
SEP 15, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Chemistry Grad Students Be Warned: a Robotic Takeover?
SEP 15, 2020
Chemistry Grad Students Be Warned: a Robotic Takeover?
In a recent news release, the research arm of IBM announced that their Zurich team has developed an autonomous ...
Loading Comments...