Clinical MEG Service | Patient Resources

The Clinical MEG Service

The Clinical MEG Service is located on the seventh floor of the James Mandell Building at Boston Children’s Hospital.

The new whole-head MEG system was built with support from the National Science Foundation. This system is developed by the same inventor as that of the first BabySQUID (MEG) system.

Nearly $4 million was invested in this project to design and build a one-of-a-kind MEG system that is used specifically for infants and young children.

Innovative technology

Even though MEG has been used for human brain studies for nearly 40 years, the current commercial devices are only available for adults and older children.

In the Clinical MEG Facility, we use a unique whole-head pediatric MEG system that has been specifically designed for infants up to 5 years old. It allows for a better understanding of how an infant's brain functions.

Our facility is also equipped with a 128-channel electroencephalography (EEG) system, which can record brain activity at the same time as the MEG system. The combined information of the two techniques offers an excellent assessment of children’s brain activity.

What is MEG?

MEG (magnetoencephalography) records the tiny magnetic fields generated by human brain activity. This technology allows researchers to see which regions of the brain are active while your child performs a particular task or while he/she is resting or sleeping.

Clinical research applications of MEG include neurological and psychiatric disorders such as epilepsy, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders, and Down syndrome. Furthermore, MEG is widely used for measuring cognitive functions, such as memory and language.

Our facility has numerous collaborations with other research institutes, hospitals, and universities, including the Martinos Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT, and Brown University, to name a few.

MEG is a silent and completely non-invasive technique

MEG, unlike other ways of looking at the brain (e.g. MRI, CT scan, or PET), does not expose the body to magnetic fields or ionizing radiation.

We collaborated with Boston Children's Hospital's Child Life specialists to design our facility to be a child-friendly and soothing environment. While getting ready for the recordings, infants are provided with age-appropriate toys, listen to music, or watch DVDs.

Analysis process

The analysis for a typical MEG scan involves multiple steps and can take some time depending on the data collected.

  1. First the data is preprocessed for analysis.
  2. The data is then reviewed and epileptogenic activity is marked by trained physicians and scientists.
  3. The markings are then reviewed by the neurologist.
  4. If clinically relevant data is identified, it is then put through the localization algorithm to identify the specific area of the brain creating the epileptogenic activity.
  5. After localization, the findings are then reviewed by both a radiologist and neurologist.
  6. Findings are written into a clinical MEG report and uploaded onto the patient's chart.