We will develop and validate hybrid magnetoencephalography (MEG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology that will allow simultaneous structural (MRI) and functional (MEG) imaging of the human brain. MEG is a non-invasive 3D functional imaging with a high temporal resolution compared to other functional imaging but often suffers from a precise structural localization which will be solved by the dual modality approach of the MEGMRI hybrid scanner. In parallel, low field MRI, a new very promising alternative to conventional high field MRI will provide enhanced image contrast in certain applications, improved geometric accuracy, improve safety (for patient with pacemakers and other implants, for pregnant women, for infants), and reduce costs. These new opportunities are based on recent advances in ultra-sensitive magnetic sensors. Superconducting magnetometers based on quantum interference devices (SQUIDs) have been recently used to provide 2D-MRI images at very low fields by two US teams. In parallel, a new type of magnetometer, called mixed sensor, based on spin electronics devices, has been developed within our consortium and used for low-field NMR. The first part of the project will be focused on sensor optimization, and low-field MRI development. This covers the development of field-tolerant SQUIDs and optimized mixed sensors and 3D-MRI low-field hardware and software development. The second part of the project will be devoted to a prototype building with the best kind of sensor and extensive preclinical validation, covering major brain disorders for adults and children. The consortium of MEGMRI has the necessary skills to perform all the tasks: sensor developers, MRI experts, MEG developers and clinical validators. It contains 13 partners from 5 countries including 3 SMEs and one large medical device manufacturer.
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