One of the challenges of measuring brain activity in order to get an accurate reading suitable for medical interventions for neurological or psychological conditions is that the only way to be precise enough is to get measurements as close to the area of the brain in question as possible. One way to do this has typically required an invasive type of EEG (Electroencephalogram) procedure where electrodes are actually implanted in the brain at specific points. EEG is not accurate enough for precise pinpointed measurements from outside the brain in the usual electrode on scalp method, as it is effected by ‘noise’ in the brain caused by movement and electrical interference.
The other most common brain activity measuring method, an fMRI test, works by measuring changes in blood flow in the brain. While this procedure is non invasive it is again not pinpointed enough and requires often many tests to build a complete picture.
Another popular method of measuring the brain is to inject a chemical agent (often a radioactive substance) in the persons blood and then measure the travel or collection of this substance as it moves through the body. Again not ideal and potentially with side effects.
Now there’s a new way to measure thoughts and brain activity that is non invasive and much faster than traditional methods using just a form of sound.
It’s using Ultrafast ultrasound otherwise known as Functional ultrafast imaging (fUS imaging).
One of the main benefits other than ease and portability.., is that a lot of information can be gathered with just one test and complex cognitive processes can be measured and analysed all at once.
fUS imaging has progressed to the point of being accurate enough to detect tiny changes in blood flow including both location and direction of travel down to as slow as 0.5mm per second.
And all this can be done during fully conscious activity and in real time to get accurate results that don’t have to be averaged out or adjusted for error nearly as much as the current methods.
And it’s portability and ease of use make it accessible to more people who need it.
Very cool use of existing technology and it will be exciting to see how this develops.