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Major funding for developing a new brain research method at Aalto University

Brain imaging has given us a lot of data concerning, for example, how human brains process sensory information.

The European Research Council has awarded Professor Lauri Parkkonen a Starting Grant of 1.5 million euros to develop a new sensor technique for measuring human brain activity from outside the head.

Brain imaging has given us a lot of data concerning, for example, how human brains process sensory information. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) provides spatially accurate data about brain activation lasting at least a few seconds, while electro- and magnetoencephalography (EEG/MEG) make it possible to monitor short-term responses in the cortex to an accuracy of a millisecond. All of the above-mentioned methods are used in non-invasive brain activity research. 

The objective of this project is to develop a new type of MEG system in which the neuromagnetic fields produced by electrical activity in the brain are measured much closer to the surface of the head than what is possible with existing MEG equipment.

“We have used computational models to show that putting sensors very close to the surface of the head not only facilitates detection of weak brain signals but also essentially improves the spatial accuracy of the method and thus the differentiation of simultaneous, adjacent brain activations. This high-resolution MEG system (HRMEG) could make it possible to monitor cortical activity from outside the head with a degree of accuracy never seen before," says Lauri Parkkonen.

“We need this kind of new method in order to measure high-frequency cortical responses that are produced by the brain while performing, for example, complicated cognitive tasks in which the coherently producing areas are small," continues Parkkonen.

The project will also study the combination of transcranial magnetic simulation (TMS) with the HRMEG method, which would enable much more accurate monitoring of the effects of electrical brain stimulation.

European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant funding is awarded to promising young researchers.

Further information:

Professor Lauri Parkkonen, Doctor of Science (Technology)
 

News about Parkkonen:
Lauri Parkkonen began his journey to professorship at a young age

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