MAR 28, 2018 10:03 AM PDT

A Better Way to See the Brain


When there is a complex medical concern involving the brain, imaging is crucial to getting the best possible diagnosis. While x-rays are useful if there is a skull fracture, CT scans and MRIs are needed to look at soft tissue in the brain. Other scans can measure blood flow and water movement throughout the brain, but many of these require the patient to lie inside a tiny confined space. Patients report having anxiety or discomfort when having scans, but there could be another way.

A brain scanner helmet that is worn on the head, much like a ski mask, with sensors attached uses magnetoencephalography (MEG) to record changes in electrical activity in the brain. Seeing which parts of the brain are electrically active can tell healthcare providers what's going on, but it's not a perfect system. Traditional MEG scanners are quite big, do not adjust to different sized heads and patients who have movement disorders cannot be scanned, so experts in the UK developed the helmet MEG scanner. It fits any size head, with an adjustable skull cap in which sensors are placed. The patient is out in the open, not confined and can move around, drink a cup of tea, write, read or speak. The developers, a group of scientists at University College London and the University of Nottingham, hope to use it to research epilepsy, autism and perhaps even mental illnesses.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
APR 14, 2020
Plants & Animals
Why Are Bats So Resistant to Viruses?
APR 14, 2020
Why Are Bats So Resistant to Viruses?
Bats are some of the most infamous carriers of zoonotic viruses, which are viruses capable of spreading between both ani ...
APR 26, 2020
Plants & Animals
These Macaques Slap Their Food Scavenging Competition
APR 26, 2020
These Macaques Slap Their Food Scavenging Competition
One thing that lion-tailed macaques and Malabar giant squirrels have in common is a passionate love for the taste of jac ...
MAY 03, 2020
Space & Astronomy
How the Hubble Space Telescope Transformed Astronomy
MAY 03, 2020
How the Hubble Space Telescope Transformed Astronomy
The Hubble Space Telescope has officially spent three decades in outer space, making it one of the most renowned space o ...
MAY 19, 2020
Space & Astronomy
The Science Behind Eclipses
MAY 19, 2020
The Science Behind Eclipses
A particularly convenient coincidence exists between the relative sizes of the Sun and the Moon, and their distance from ...
JUN 07, 2020
Plants & Animals
Everything You Need to Know About the Tawny Frogmouth
JUN 07, 2020
Everything You Need to Know About the Tawny Frogmouth
Tawny frogmouths (Podargus strigoides) are a captivating species of nocturnal bird that, although owl-esque in terms of ...
JUN 24, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
How to Enable Computers to Solve Increasingly Complex Problems? Make Them "Think" Like a Metal
JUN 24, 2020
How to Enable Computers to Solve Increasingly Complex Problems? Make Them "Think" Like a Metal
In metal works, the term annealing refers to a treatment with heat that increases the elasticity of a metal material. Si ...
Loading Comments...