From the development of novel pulse sequences to off line reconstruction, from designing labatories to setting up clinical workspace, to advising universities or other entities on what type of scanner to buy.
Principals of MINDSET have helped a number of Universities and Research Centers negotiate the purchase of their MRI scanners. With respect to the data reconstruction the principals of MINDSET have shown it is critical to pull data off scanners in high-resolution avoiding the compression that can occur when converting down to a DIACOM 12-bit radiological format. MINDSET offers consulting and implementation services for individuals who wish to pull data from their scanners.
What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) (3T MRI & Mobile 1.5T MRI) and how does it work?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a technique that exploits variations in the magnetic properties of tissues and fluids in the body to create high-quality, three-dimensional pictures of internal structures of the body, including the brain. This technique relies on the combination of magnetic fields tens of thousands of times stronger than the earth’s magnetic field, and radiofrequency pulses which interact with the magnetic field. When a strong magnetic field is applied to the body, protons—particularly in water molecules—align with the magnetic field. Within this magnetic environment, pulses of radio waves are delivered, exciting these protons. As the energy is released, the signal produced is recorded and reconstructed into an image representing variations of the signal in 3D space. A variety of available radiofrequency pulse sequences can produce images with different properties, highlighting certain tissues within the body with varying specificity. The quality of the resulting images is suitable for discriminating detailed anatomical features with a resolution of less than a cubic millimeter. This allows for reliable visual inspection of individual images for abnormal variations, as well as the evaluation of composite averages of many brains, looking for variations common to experimental groups.
What is functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) (3T MRI & Mobile 1.5T MRI)
and how does it work?
A methodological variation of MRI, fMRI uses the same physical principles to create maps of functional brain activity over a discrete time-course. That is, an MRI scan is administered while the subject performs a carefully controlled experimental task, and the brain activity coinciding with that task can be isolated and mapped in 3D space, demonstrating which specific areas of the brain show increased or decreased activity corresponding to the performance of the task. This technique is called functional MRI (fMRI). It should be noted that fMRI does not measure brain activity directly; rather, it depends on magnetic resonance signal generated by minute, localized differences in the concentration of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood in vessels surrounding neurons. These concentrations change in response to local neural activity, and are translated into Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) signal, which is mapped onto a template of the brain, effectively representing the location of the signal and thus the neural activity. While this technique allows for highly specific spatial localization of neural activity (again, on the order of millimeters), it relies on relatively slow changes in blood flow. Experimental conditions must be carefully timed and controlled to make meaningful estimates of how this signal corresponds to rapid changes in neural activity.
What is Electroencephalography (EEG) and how does it work?
One of the earliest techniques for measuring brain activity is electroencephalography (EEG), a method of recording small variations in electrical signals at the surface of the scalp produced by massed, synchronized neural activity occurring in the brain. Small electrodes (from just a few up to hundreds) are applied to the scalp, and record fluctuating voltages sampled several thousands of times per second, allowing for high precision in the timing of neural events. Varying frequencies in these complex waves are indicative of some changes in general cognitive states. EEG waves can also be averaged across time with reference to a specific repeated event administered experimentally, such as the repeated identification of a response target. These averaged waves produce a characteristic shape and are referred to as event-related potentials (ERPs). Predictable differences in the size and latency of specific peaks and troughs in the ERP can convey specific information about cognitive events such as processing speed, shifts in attention, memory, semantic processing, and the recognition of response errors. In the face of newer technology such as MRI, EEG may mistakenly be considered as outdated or obsolete. On the contrary, decades of empirical investigation and advanced analytical developments have allowed for a surprising amount of information to be gleaned from these variations in electrical signals on the scalp.
What is Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and how does it work?
Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a technique that allows brain activity to be tracked in real time. MEG provides complimentary information relative to techniques such as fMRI through directly measuring neuronal activity with fine temporal resolution on the order of milliseconds. The MEG device housed at MRN allows investigators to study a wide range of clinical populations allowing for data collection both in sitting and supine positions. Recent advances in analysis approaches allow investigators to track and correct for movement during the MEG scan making studies with pediatric and other populations now possible. The MEG lab maintains a diverse selection of stimulus equipment and participant monitoring devices providing behavioral and physiological monitoring synchronized with the MEG data. These capabilities provide for a unique environment within which to study the links between brain and behavior.