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Neonatal Biomagnetometer

In partnership with the Lurie Family Foundation, the NLM Family Foundation provided funding to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for the purchase of a Neonatal Biomagnetometer, a magnetoencephalography (MEG) system that provides non-invasive, 4-dimensional imaging of human brain function necessary to detect developmental disorders. This system served as the world’s first dedicated infant-MEG system serving children 18 months to two years, thereby providing better opportunities for successful, appropriate interventions to occur at an earlier age. This technology conducts passive recordings of “brain waves” during rest or stimulation through finger-tapping, sounds, and pictures. A typical scan of the brain may take less than one hour. MEG measures small electrical currents inside the neurons of the brain and generates an accurate representation of the magnetic fields produced by the neurons. Developmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders and learning disabilities, exploit the ability of MEG to track deficits in rapid temporal processing. This helps identify when and where in the brain and at what stage of linguistic complexity deviations from typical development occur, providing physicians with better opportunities to treat children with the most appropriate form of care. In addition to providing physicians with the best insight into the exact location of abnormalities that cause epilepsy and seizure disorders, the MEG also provides state-of-the-art, pre-surgical mapping for brain tumors and vascular malformations so that surgery can be planned in an effort to minimize postoperative weakness or loss of brain function.