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Simultaneous magnetic brain stimulation and measurement

Project description

A novel method for unveiling brain connectivity

Cognitive neuroscience and the study of brain disorders are two fields that require the understanding of the connectivity of brain regions. To determine such a functional connection, one must stimulate one brain region and measure the response from the other. Current approaches, however, suffer from low resolution or cannot deliver both stimulation and measurement functions at the same time. To address this issue, the EU-funded STIMUSURE project will combine magnetoencephalography with transcranial magnetic stimulation, a technique traditionally used to stimulate nerve cells in the region of the brain involved in mood control and depression.

Objective

Current methods for directly measuring the connectivity between brain regions are lacking. A causal measurement of a functional connection between two brain regions requires stimulation of the first region whilst measuring the response from the other. Stimulation with high spatio-temporal resolution can be delivered with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), but there are no suitable methods for simultaneously measuring the response with high spatio-temporal resolution. The state-of-the-art functional neuroimaging modalities have either too low spatial resolution, too low temporal resolution, or, in case of magnetoencephalography (MEG), are considered incompatible with TMS. With STIMUSURE, we aim to solve this incompatibility issue between TMS and MEG and build the first TMS–MEG device. During this two-year project, I will design magnetic shielding to enable TMS inside a magnetically shielded room (MSR) and build TMS-compatible resilient optically pumped magnetometers (OPM) based on nonlinear magneto-optical rotation (NMOR) technique. Unlike earlier ultra-sensitive magnetic field sensors, these NMOR-OPM sensors can tolerate the magnetic field pulses due to TMS. Ultimately, such a device would allow accurate measurement of the functional connectivity and quantifying its task-specific modulation, which would benefit both cognitive neuroscience and the study of brain disorders.

Coordinator

THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM
Net EU contribution
€ 224 933,76
Address
Edgbaston
B15 2TT Birmingham
United Kingdom

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Region
West Midlands (England) West Midlands Birmingham
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
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Total cost
€ 224 933,76