Wearable MRI Scanner Allows New Observations of Brain Activity

Researchers at the University of Nottingham and University College London are developing a wearable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. The helmet-like device uses an advanced technique called magnetoencephalography (MEG) to map brain activity.

While MRI scans of the brain are nothing new, the mobile nature of the new technology will allow doctors to evaluate patients while performing real-world motions. For instance, doctors would be able to get more relevant results when observing patients with movement disorders.

The new brain scanner is not only more versatile — it’s also more sensitive.

The researchers have demonstrated that the wearable MRI scanner can be worn while a patient makes a variety of movements, such as nodding, drinking tea, and playing ping pong. The most impressive news from the researchers is that the scans can outperform the sensitivity of current MRI scanners.

“I think in terms of mapping brain activity, brain function, this represents a step change,” said Matt Brookes, a physicist at the University of Nottingham told WCAX News. “Neuroscientists will be able to envisage a whole new world of experiments where we try to work out what a brain is doing but whilst a person is behaving naturally.”

The new technology could benefit everyone from children with psychiatric disorders to seniors with Parkinson’s disease.

Another researcher involved with the project, Gareth Barnes, said “For children with epilepsy, this technology is going to be tremendously beneficial and the reason is that doctors can now scan these children as they’re moving around and that’s never been done before.”

The technology could lead the way toward a completely open MRI scanner.

The wearable scanner is intended for the study of movement disorders. However, once the technology is fully developed and costs come down, wearable scanners could become more widespread. This would be a relief to the millions of patients who suffer from claustrophobia and dread visits to the MRI machine.

Even now, there have been great strides in providing relief to claustrophobic patients who need MRI scans. Stand-up machines help reduce anxiety with their open fronts that allow patients to either stand or sit with a view outside of the machine. The more common open MRI has open areas on both sides of the patient which can reduce claustrophobic feelings.

Open MRI machines don’t just help people with claustrophobia.

They’re better suited for larger people, who may not fit easily into the bore of a traditional MRI machine. Children can also benefit from open MRI technology since they may be afraid of entering an enclosed machine.

If you need MRI scans and would prefer an open MRI machine, visit BestPriceMRI.com or call us at 888-322-7785. Most of our locations offer affordable open MRI scans in a comfortable environment. Many locations offer other services to help relax nervous patients, such as:

  • Headphones with music or soothing sounds.
  • Goggles that show movies.
  • Herbal relaxants or sedatives.

Check out our blog on helpful hints for claustrophobic patients. There’s no reason to fear getting an MRI. You just need to schedule a scan at a facility with caring med techs and state-of-the-art equipment.