Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 40

GlobAl
INNOVATIONS
Quantum Brain Sensors Could Spot Dementia
University of Sussex, Brighton, UK
ew highly sensitive
quantum sensors
for the brain
may in the future be able
to identify brain diseases
such as dementia, ALS,
and Parkinson's, by spotting
a slowing in the
speed at which signals
travel across the brain.
The quantum scanners
being developed
can detect the magnetic
fields generated when
neurons fire. Measuring
moment-to-moment
changes
in the brain,
they track the speed at
which signals move
across the brain. This
time element is important
because it means a
Lead research author Aikaterini Gialopsou with magnetic shield where participant brain
signal measurements are taken. (Credit: University of Sussex)
patient could be scanned twice several
months apart to check whether the activity
in their brain is slowing down. Such
slowing can be a sign of Alzheimer's or
other diseases of the brain.
In this way, the technology introduces
a new method to spot biomarkers of
early health problems.
The research findings from a paper
led by University of Sussex quantum
physicists are published in Scientific
Reports journal. Aikaterini Gialopsou, a
doctoral researcher in the School of
Mathematical and Physical Sciences at
the University of Sussex and Brighton
and Sussex Medical School is the lead
author on the paper.
" We've shown for the first time that
quantum sensors can produce highly
accurate results in terms of both space
and time, " says Gialopsou. " While other
teams have shown the benefits in terms
of locating signals in the brain, this is the
first time that quantum sensors have
proved to be so accurate in terms of the
timing of signals too. This could be really
significant for doctors and patients
concerned with the development of
brain disorders. "
40
Cov
These quantum sensors are believed
to be much more accurate than either
EEG or fMRI scanners, due in part to
the fact that the sensors can get closer to
the skull. The closer proximity of the
sensors to the brain can not only
improve the spatial, but also the temporal
resolution of the results. This double
improvement of both time and space
accuracy is highly significant as it means
brain signals can be tracked in ways that
are inaccessible to other types of sensors.
" It's the quantum technology which
makes these sensors so accurate, " says
Prof. Peter Kruger, who leads
the
Quantum Systems and Devices lab at the
University of Sussex. He adds, " The sensors
contain a gas of rubidium atoms.
Beams of laser light are shone at the
atoms, and when the atoms experience
changes in a magnetic field, they emit
light differently. Fluctuations in the
emitted light reveal changes in the magnetic
activity in the brain. The quantum
sensors are accurate within milliseconds,
and within several millimeters. "
The technology behind the scanners is
called magnetoencephalography (MEG).
Combining MEG tech with these new
www.medicaldesignbriefs.com
ToC
N
quantum sensors has
developed a noninvasive
way to probe activity
in the brain. Unlike
existing brain scanners
- which send a signal
into the brain and
record what come back
- MEG passively measures
what is occurring
inside from the outside,
eliminating the health
risks currently associated
for
some patients
with invasive scanners.
Currently MEG scanners
are expensive and
bulky, making them
challenging to use in
clinical practice. This
development of quantum
sensor technology
could be crucial for transferring the
scanners from highly controlled laboratory
environments into real-world clinical
settings.
" It's our hope with this development, "
says Gialopsou, " that in discovering this
enhanced function of quantum brain
scanners, the door is opened to further
developments that could bring about a
quantum revolution in neuroscience. This
matters because, although the scanners
are in their infancy, it has implications for
future developments that could lead to
crucial early diagnosis of brain diseases,
such as ALS, MS, and even Alzheimer's.
That's what motivates us as a team. "
The University of Sussex and Brighton
and Sussex Medical School led research
team working on this development
included scientists from the University
of Brighton and the German National
Metrology Institute PTB. The paper,
" Improved spatio-temporal measurements
of visually evoked fields using
optically-pumped magnetometers " was
published in the journal Nature.
This article was written by Alice Ingall,
University of Sussex. For more information,
visit www.sussex.ac.uk.
Medical Design Briefs, January 2022
http://www.sussex.ac.uk http://www.medicaldesignbriefs.com http://info.hotims.com/82317-803

Medical Design Briefs - January 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Medical Design Briefs - January 2022

Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - Intro
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - Sponsor
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - Cov1a
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - Cov1b
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - Cov1
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - Cov2
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 1
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 2
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 3
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 4
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 5
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 6
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 7
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 8
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 9
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 10
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 11
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 12
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Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 39
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 40
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - Cov3
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - Cov4
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