Novel methods of measuring magnetic fields outside the head give further insights to the functioning of the human brain. In his doctoral thesis “Estimating Neural Currents from Neuromagnetic Measurements”, Kimmo Uutela developed new methods for finding electrical activity of the brain, which enable easier identification of different brain areas. The Finnish Association of Graduate Engineers (TEK) and the Engineering Society in Finland (TFiF) honoured Uutela’s work with their joint doctoral thesis award.
Uutela developed two methods, based on magnetic measurements, for estimating electric activity of the brain. Research was carried out at the Low Temperature Laboratory of Helsinki University of Technology. One method is a multidipole model applying genetic algorithms and the other is a minimum current estimate method. These mathematical methods make it easier to locate brain areas which operate simultaneously, and are useful tools for research purposes as well as for the planning of neurosurgery, for example.
“Both estimation methods are automatic making the source estimation faster and less subjective,” explains Uutela. “Also, the results of the minimum current estimate are in a format that can be easily combined with results of other brain imaging modalities and over different subjects.”
Mira Banerjee-Rantala | alfa
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
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For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
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