For now, the way to scan the brain involves that famous (and feared by claustrophobics) MRI tube. However, researchers at Penn State College of Engineering have been developing a prototype that could work as an alternative method for performing a brain scan with a device that can be fitted to the head.
Basically, the purpose of this device is to advance the diagnosis and treatment of neurological problems through accessible tests. For this, the invention relies on a hybrid technology that uses light and sound, sending laser pulses to the brain, generating harmless heat that is converted into ultrasonic waves, detectable by an ultrasound sensor. Light rays are naturally absorbed by blood vessels, making them visible on a monitor.
The idea is that the device is able to visualize the cerebral cortex of the brain — related to perception, consciousness, memory, language — and provide images in real time while the patient performs tasks or answers questions.
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Once researchers have a prototype of the brain sensor, the next step is to test its function and capabilities, which should include the participation of researchers from Duke University (USA). The new technology is also expected to be used to detect brain injuries or developmental disorders in children and adult patients.
Source: Science Blog
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