British scientists awarded for brain imaging innovation


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LONDON (Commonwealth Union) – Scientific innovations continue to play an essential role in many areas from providing better healthcare, together with more environmentally friendly innovations in everyday uses.

Scientists, Elena Boto, Ryan Hill and Niall Holmes from the University of Nottingham’s School of Physics and Astronomy were recognized for transforming brain imaging with the creation of a new type of wearable brain scanner. They received the Clifford Paterson Medal of the Institute of Physics (IOP). This was in recognition of their work on the creation of a wearable, lightweight brain imaging technology that is capable of showing images of human brain functioning with exceptional accuracy, even as the patient moves.

The researchers were engaged in the project since 2015. They worked together to put in place the rapid production of this new scanner, which uses quantum enabled sensors to measure magnetic fields on top of the scalp usually referred to as magnetoencephalography (MEG).

The technology is likely to make brain scans a less traumatic experience for some patients who fear it and will have the freedom to move around engaging in a fun activity without focusing on the scan. The researchers incorporated sensors onto a novel scanner design that could be placed on the head as a helmet permitting people to move freely. The system can be modified for anyone, from newborns to adults, and sensors can be put much nearer to the head, dramatically improving the data quality. OPM-MEG is also more economical than usual scanners.

Professor Matt Brookes, MEG research lead at the University of Nottingham stated that the work done by the scientists is authentically ground-breaking, that can go a long way for healthcare. “Individually, they are exceptional scientists, but working together they have achieved something that is truly and uniquely special. The Clifford Patterson Medal from the IOP is richly deserved, and a wonderful recognition of Elena, Ryan and Niall’s achievements,” he added.


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