NOV 14, 2019 10:20 AM PST

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

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
DEC 12, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 12, 2019
What Can the Moon's Craters Tell Us?
The Moon is littered with craters, and each one tells an important story about its past. Some of those craters are large, but others are somewhat small. Th...
DEC 12, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 12, 2019
Scientists Synthesized the First-ever Circular Molecule of Pure Carbon
Carbon atoms, the favorite "Lego blocks" for chemists, are known for its versatility of forming a large variety of three-dimensional configu...
DEC 12, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 12, 2019
Scientists Developed Magnetic Nanoparticles that can Remotely Modulate Neural Circuits
Currently, neuroscience researchers rely heavily on invasive procedures to stimulate and study the neural activity of animals. A team of MIT scientists has...
DEC 12, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 12, 2019
What do a Wing Nut and a Tennis Racket Have in Common?
In 1985 during a mission to rescue the space station Salyut-7, Soviet astronaut Vladimir Dzhanibekov observed something rather strange. A free-flowing wing...
DEC 12, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 12, 2019
Fridge without Liquid Coolant: How a "Twisted" Idea can Revolutionize Refrigeration Technology
In the middle of the night, the low-pitched hum from the fridge compressor is likely the most common noise in every household. The fridge's cooling sys...
DEC 12, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 12, 2019
Astronomers Are Observing the Birth of a Binary Star System
Stars are easily observable in the night sky, either by the naked eye or with the aid of a powerful telescope, but while we know they exist and we understa...
Loading Comments...