New Device Locates Brain Activity with Extreme Accuracy
Researchers at Aalto University in Finland have developed the world’s first device designed to map the human brain combining whole-head magnetoencephalography (MEG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology. MEG measures the electrical function and MRI visualizes the structure of the brain. By merging these two technologies, researchers have been able to very accurately locate brain electrical activity non-invasively.
In the past, when MEG was used alone, the image accuracy could be compromised because of the brain's movement. Also, the image it provides may not be accurate enough for precise brain surgery. It also was not possible to combine high-field MRI and MEG because their magnetic fields interfered with one another.
But now extremely sensitive magnetic field sensors have now been developed so scientists can now use the new low-field MRI with a magnetic field strength of only a few hundred-thousandths of that of the high-field MRI device. Fusing these two technologies produces localization accuracy that was not possible with MRI or MEG alone.
The project, coordinated by Aalto University in Finland, includes 13 research groups from five different countries. The research project is part of the European Commission Seventh Framework Program.