About the Research
One of our research groups, led by Professor Gareth Barnes, is developing a wearable brain scanner, using technology called Optically Pumped Magnetoencephalography (OPM-MEG).
Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a technique used to map brain activity. It works by measuring the magnetic field produced when neurons in the brain signal between one another. MEG scans are especially useful in epilepsy, because they can pinpoint areas of the brain causing seizures without an invasive procedure. However, MEG systems are rare because of their size and expense. They also require people being scanned to stay very still, meaning they are often unsuitable for some people, including young people.
Optically Pumped Magnetoencephalography (OPM-MEG) removes the need for those being scanned to keep still. It will allow the team to not only identify seizure sites non-invasively, but also perform essential tasks even whilst the person is moving, allowing clinicians and researchers to gather new types of information from the active brain to better understand it. This makes OPM-MEG an extremely exciting new development in this field, and will enable more young people and those with complex needs to have scans. Increasing the number of young people with epilepsy who can be scanned means that more treatment options (including surgery) will be available for more individuals, thereby increasing the quality of life for many young people.