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Transforming the understanding and treatment of mental illness through research
DIVISION OF INTRAMURAL RESEARCH PROGRAMS
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 DIRP Magnetoencephalography Core Facility

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a non-invasive procedure similar to electroencephalography (EEG) in terms of basic principles and analysis, however, MEG consists of sitting in a chair or lying on a bed while your head is inside a helmet shaped device which contains magnetic field sensors.  These superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) sensors passively detect weak magnetic fields (10-14 Tesla) outside the head produced by brain activity.  The 275 SQUID sensors are uniformly distributed, in a grid, over the inner surface of the helmet that covers the entire head.  Head position within the magnetometer will be determined before and after the MEG session by digitizing the position of three indicator coils that are attached to the pre-auricular and the nasion fiducial points.  The positions define the coordinate system for the signals.  Digital photographs of the fiducial points will also be taken to localize the same points on the participant´┐Żs anatomical MRI scan.

Magnetoencephalography can lead to a better understanding of the functioning of the brain because the potential to determine the spatial source of dipoles is enhanced.  With this technology signal detection is practically unaffected by the conductivity and structure of skull and scalp tissue.  In addition, compared to EEG systems, MEG systems allow higher spatial sampling resolution.  Under favorable conditions, spatial localization of current sources with whole head MEG is on the order of 2-3 mm at a temporal resolution better than 1 ms.
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This page was last updated January 12, 2009.


 The Division of Intramural Research Programs is within the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is a part the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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