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Functional Neuroimaging Paves the Way for Brain Mapping

By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 16 Jan 2018
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Image: The OEG-17APD fNIRS device can detect brain activity by measuring blood flow (Photo courtesy of Spectratech).
Image: The OEG-17APD fNIRS device can detect brain activity by measuring blood flow (Photo courtesy of Spectratech).
A series of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) devices measure chemical changes in the brain, such as hemoglobin levels and apparent arterial oxygen saturation (aSpO2) in the frontal lobe.

The Spectratech (Yokohama, Japan) OEG-APD series of encephalography instruments are based on hemodynamics modality separation (HMS), which can extract data on blood flow in the scalp that is associated with brain function activity by deducting the regional blood flow component from the total fNIRS signal. The OEG-APD series include four products, the OEG-16, OEG-16H, OEG-SpO2, and the OEG-17APD devices, and are intended only for encephalography research.

The OEG-16 device is designed for use on the frontal lobe, and measures changes in in-vivo blood using a multi-channel method that simultaneously utilizes light absorption characteristics of near infrared to red light, depending on the mixture of in-vivo hemoglobin and oxygen. The OEG-16H device offers ultrahigh signal to noise ratio (SNR) technology, which can display ultra-weak pulse waves, while also giving users the ability to perform multi-channel brain localization analysis. It is also provided with monitoring and measurement tools, including an index of aSpO2.

The OEG-16H facilitates constant connectivity with 6 light injection points, 6 optical light-receiving points, and 16-channel measure points in a lightweight head module that allows it to translate brain waves into data, while simultaneously measuring hemoglobin from multiple points. The device runs on proprietary software, but can also be operated under Microsoft Windows 7 or 8. The OEG-SpO2 module helps measure hemoglobin changes and aSpO2 occurring at multiple points in the brain, with an emphasis on the frontal lobe. The final device is the best-in-class OEG-17APD, which can measure the head in its entirety.

“In the past, medical researchers have implemented fMRI scans to reveal cortical responses to environmental stimuli, such as speech and touch in comatose patients,” said the company in a press statement. “Spectratech aims to achieve this by instead using fNIRS technology to interpret chemical changes in the brain and establish patterns of communication with those patients. These products could potentially facilitate significant advances in the area of functional Neuroimaging.”

The prefrontal cortex is considered to be in charge of the orchestration of thoughts and actions in accordance with internal goals, responsible for higher-level processing, such as memory, attention, problem solving and decision-making. When a person is learning a new skill, for instance, neural activity is greater in this region. Increasing evidence shows that in Parkinson‘s disease, profound dopamine depletion not only occurs in the striatum of the brain, but also in the prefrontal cortex, and this may be associated with cognitive and motor deficits.

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