Wearable brain scanner allows patients to move

A new type of brain scanner that can be worn on the head has been invented at Nottingham University

Wearable brain scanner
Credit: Wellcome Trust
Patients will be able to move during scans and the researchers said the scanner could revolutionise brain imaging. The research featured in the journal Nature and was reported on the BBC by medical correspondent Fergus Walsh. The device records the tiny magnetic fields generated by the brain and it could pinpoint the part of the brain responsible for activities like nodding, drinking tea and playing bat and ball. While magnetoencephalography (MEG) has been around for decades, MEG scanners are large, weighing half a ton and patients must keep completely still. The BBC reported: “The wearable scanner means that babies, children and people with movement disorders can have their brain activity measured.” Walsh spoke to two experts including Matt Brookes, physicist, who leads the study at Nottingham University, who said: "In terms of mapping brain activity, this represents a step change. "Neuroscientists will be able to envisage a whole new world of experiments where we try to work out what the brain is doing but whilst a person is behaving naturally and moving around." Prof Gareth Barnes, who leads the project at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Neuroimaging at University College London, told the BBC: "For children with epilepsy, this technology will be incredibly beneficial. Doctors can scan them while they are moving around and that's never been done before." The device was developed at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre in Nottingham.
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