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Magnetoencephalography (MEG) systems are designed to noninvasively measure magnetic fields produced by neural electrical currents. This project examines the possibility of measuring hemodynamics with an MEG system that has been modified with dc electromagnets to measure magnetic susceptibility while maintaining the capability of measuring neural dynamics. A forward model is presented that simulates the interaction of an applied magnetic field with changes in magnetic susceptibility in the brain associated with hemodynamics. Model predictions are compared with an experiment where deionized water was pumped into an inverted flask under the MEG sensor array of superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) gradiometers (R(2) = 0.98, p < 0.001). The forward model was used to simulate the SQUID readouts from hemodynamics in the scalp and brain induced by performing the Valsalva maneuver. Experimental human subject recordings (N = 10) were made from the prefrontal region during Valsalva using concurrent measurement with the modified MEG system and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). The NIRS deoxyhemoglobin signal was found to correlate significantly with the SQUID readouts (R(2) = 0.84, p < 0.01). SQUID noise was found to increase with the applied field, which will need to be mitigated in future work. These results demonstrate the potential and technical challenges of measuring cerebral hemodynamics with a modified MEG system.


Broc A Burke, Solomon G Diamond. Measuring cerebral hemodynamics with a modified magnetoencephalography system. Physiological measurement. 2012 Dec;33(12):2079-98

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PMID: 23171539

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