Engineers and physicists at the UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing are developing a new generation of magnetic systems to improve our understanding of everything from basic cognition to dementia and ADHD.
Through using Optically Pumped Magnetometers (OPMs), Hub researchers have created the first wearable MEG system which permits free movement during scanning. This can be placed directly on the scalp, closer to the brain, enhancing the accuracy of signal detection five-fold. A wearable system imposes less restriction on movement by the subject and avoids the high installation and running costs of a conventional MEG system. This technology will enable detailed research into brain conditions such as Dementia, Cerebrovascular Disease and Parkinson’s.
Three years after Hub researchers at the University of Nottingham published a ground-breaking paper in Nature on non-invasive imaging techniques to investigate brain function, Dr Elena Boto and the academic team in Nottingham, along with David Woolger at Magnetic Shields Ltd, set up Cerca Magnetics Ltd, a spin-out company capitalising on this ground-breaking research which aims to bring wearable quantum-enabled brain scanners to both a research and clinical commercial market. Since launching, Cerca successfully installed its OPM-MEG system at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto for ground-breaking research into autism, as well as Young Epilepsy to revolutionise the diagnostic experience for children with Epilepsy.