Boston Children’s Hospital is planning to launch a new infant magnetoencephalography (MEG) system this spring that will revolutionize what we know about infant brains and, more to the point, infant seizures.
If you don’t have a baby with seizures this may sound surprising to you. Why don’t doctors just do MRIs or EEGs on babies? Well, they do, but there are many limitations to these tests. As Boston Children’s Hospital says on their science and medicine blog, “Little is known about infant brains, largely because sophisticated neuroimaging technology simply hasn’t been designed with infants in mind.”
So they set out to change that.
This new MEG technology will allow doctors to “record, in real time, the neural activity in [a baby’s] brain and to overlay that information directly onto an MRI scan of his brain.” In other words, they’ll be able to see what kind of seizures a baby is having and exactly where those seizures are coming from in the brain.
Besides localizing seizures in the brain, MEGs are also better than EEGs at picking up patterns of abnormal neurological activity and MEGs aren’t constrained by soft tissue swelling. This new MEG device is also smaller than traditional MEGs designed for adults so it can be safely housed in a magnetically shielded room in the hospital (rather than in the basement of a research facility, for example) and it’s safe enough to keep near the NICU, where it’ll be needed most!
Check out Boston Children’s Hospital Vector Blog to learn more.