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A helmet of sensors maps brain function

This is Science Today. Physicist Robert Kraus of the Los Alamos National Laboratory has helped develop a helmet of sensors that can be used with a technique called magnetoencephalography to observe tiny electrical currents in the brain.

Kraus: What happens when you think, when you move a hand, when you see things, are huge numbers of brain cells or neurons fire in your brain all together - simultaneously. That produces a current. That current results in a magnetic field; that magnetic field comes out of your head and we measure the magnetic field all around your head with a sensor system.

Narrator:        Kraus says mapping the brain is important for a variety of reasons.

Kraus: It's important for neurosurgeons if they need to remove a tumor and they don't want to impair your ability to move a hand or use your fingers. It's important for determining where you might have a problem in your brain, such as epilepsy or what parts of the brain might be involved in causing schizophrenia.

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