eMEMBERSHIP  LOGIN

Flexible fiber optic cap allows radiologists to see into a baby's brain

Posted on March 13, 2009, 8:31 a.m. in Biotechnology Imaging Techniques X-ray/MRI/imaging
 

Studying brain function in infants has been possible through the use of magnetic resonance imaging. But since the equipment requires patients to lay still in a tightly confined tube as a large noisy magnet takes images, it can be upsetting - unless the baby is asleep or sedated.

Radiologists from Washington University Medical School have developed a "baby friendly" technology to monitor brain activity with no exposure to radiation or loud noises. In fact, the baby can be sitting on a parent's lap during the procedure. Dr. Culver explains that a flexible cap is placed around the baby's head. Inside the cap are fiber optic cables, some of which shine light on the head using high-density diffuse optical tomography (DOT). This employs "harmless" light from the near-infrared light spectrum, which unlike X-rays or ultrasound, is able to pass through bone easily. The diffused light is used to measure blood circulation and oxygenation in the brain's blood vessels. Scientists have found that when the baby is involved in a mental task, these characteristics increase.

"There's an increase in blood flow to that area and that allows us to map that neuron activity," says Dr. Culver. And he adds, "It's similar to taking a flashlight and putting it on one side of your hand and looking at the light come through your hand so the light has traveled through your hand and the light that you detect on the other side tells you something about what's inside your hand. And it has a more wearable cap so it can be placed on infants heads while they sit in their parents lap."

Radiologists may be able to use this new technology to monitor newborn babies in their incubators, gaining invaluable information about their developing brains - and possibly to treat infant brain injuries.

 

News Release: Radiologists use light to scan the inner workings of the brain  www.sciencedaily.com 

 

 

  

Health Headlines MORE »

Postmenopausal breast cancer risk decreases significantly with a regimen of physical activity.
Older men and women with lower blood levels of Vitamin D may be at increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Older men and women with treatment-resistant depression may benefit from playing computer games that boost memory and improve decision-making skills.
The mouthpart that butterflies use for feeding (proboscis) may yield new devices for biomedical applications.
Scientific evidence demonstrates the diverse health-promoting benefits of the tenets of anti-aging medicine. How high can you ascend on the Anti-Aging Lifestyle
Dog owners over the age of 65 act 10 years younger than their biological age.
A daily dose of aspirin may significantly reduce the risk of developing – and perhaps dying from – bowel, stomach and esophageal cancer.
Perinatal exposure to bisphenol A may raise a person’s risks of developing food intolerance later in life.
Consuming a whey protein drink before breakfast may help to manage erratic glucose levels associated with type 2 diabetes.
We’ve heard of the power of music; Northwestern Univ. team suggests of “the music of power.”