This paper provides an overview on the basic principles and applications of magnetoencephalography (MEG), a technique that requires the use of many SQUIDs and thus represents one of the most important applications of superconducting electronics. Since the development of the first SQUID magnetometers, it was clear that these devices could be used to measure the ultra-low magnetic signals associated with the bioelectric activity of the neurons of the human brain. Forty years on from the first measurement of magnetic alpha rhythm by David Cohen, MEG has become a fundamental tool for the investigation of brain functions. The simple localization of cerebral sources activated by sensory stimulation performed in the early years has been successively expanded to the identification of the sequence of neuronal pool activations, thus decrypting information of the hierarchy underlying cerebral processing. This goal has been achieved thanks to the development of complex instrumentation, namely whole head MEG systems, allowing simultaneous measurement of magnetic fields all over the scalp with an exquisite time resolution. The latest trends in MEG, such as the study of brain networks, i. e. how the brain organizes itself in a coherent and stable way, are discussed. These sound applications together with the latest technological developments aimed at implementing systems able to record MEG signals and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the head with the same set-up pave the way to high performance systems for brain functional investigation in the healthy and the sick population.

Impact of SQUIDs on functional imaging in neuroscience

DELLA PENNA, Stefania;PIZZELLA, Vittorio;ROMANI, Gian Luca
2014

Abstract

This paper provides an overview on the basic principles and applications of magnetoencephalography (MEG), a technique that requires the use of many SQUIDs and thus represents one of the most important applications of superconducting electronics. Since the development of the first SQUID magnetometers, it was clear that these devices could be used to measure the ultra-low magnetic signals associated with the bioelectric activity of the neurons of the human brain. Forty years on from the first measurement of magnetic alpha rhythm by David Cohen, MEG has become a fundamental tool for the investigation of brain functions. The simple localization of cerebral sources activated by sensory stimulation performed in the early years has been successively expanded to the identification of the sequence of neuronal pool activations, thus decrypting information of the hierarchy underlying cerebral processing. This goal has been achieved thanks to the development of complex instrumentation, namely whole head MEG systems, allowing simultaneous measurement of magnetic fields all over the scalp with an exquisite time resolution. The latest trends in MEG, such as the study of brain networks, i. e. how the brain organizes itself in a coherent and stable way, are discussed. These sound applications together with the latest technological developments aimed at implementing systems able to record MEG signals and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the head with the same set-up pave the way to high performance systems for brain functional investigation in the healthy and the sick population.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/503685
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