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How does the brain change with age? Part #3: MEG brain waves

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Published on Jul 23, 2013

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In addition to fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) brain imaging, the Cam-CAN Project uses another type of brain scanner, MEG (magnetoencephalography) to combine with data from fMRI. Again, MEG is a non-invasive procedure that is very quick, comfortable and safe.

MEG maps brain activity by recording magnetic fields produced by electrical currents occurring naturally in the brain's neurons. It can pinpoint sources of motor and sensory activity like fMRI, but with much less spatial precision. Its main advantage is speed -- resolving events occurring over one thousandth of a second; in contrast to fMRI, which takes several seconds to do the same job because it relies on the brain's more sluggish blood flow response. fMRI does give better spatial resolution though, so combining the two can create 'real-time movies' of activity over the brain during cognitive tasks.

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