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A New Method Aids a Brain Imaging Technique

Narrator:        This is Science Today. An imaging technique called MEG can be used to measure magnetic fields outside the skull that are produced by neurons firing as you think, speak or move. MEG, which stands for magnetoencephalography, can be used to diagnose illness and further investigate brain function. But it's very expensive, so scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a cost-saving MEG ‘helmet' that uses the most sensitive magnetic-field sensor known - the superconducting quantum interference device, or SQUID.

Kraus:             Those devices are used in current MEG systems, but our system uses kind of like a superconducting mirror - and so magnetic fields from the outside world are reflected away from the sensors and fields from your brain are reflected toward the sensors.

Narrator:        Physicist Robert Kraus says this method pretty much eliminates the need for specially-shielded rooms that cost hospitals millions of dollars - offering doctors more access to MEG technology.

Kraus: This will help doctors not only look for diagnostic tools, but also learn about the disorders and ultimately look for cures.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.