Our vision is to design the first truly mobile molecular brain imager that can be used on healthy subjects to study the functioning of the human brain during motion. The ultimate goal is to be able to image subjects during a proverbial “walk in the park” and other natural activities.

Current neuroimaging technology works only when someone is basically immobilized. As a result, it’s been challenging to study brain activity when people do what they do during their waking hours. Brefczynski-Lewis’s lab is working toward the first mobile brain imager so scientists can peer at brain activity while, for instance, someone is walking, playing a piano, meditating, or socializing.

That device, called the AM-PET Helmet, could not only help crack the mysteries of the human brain, it could also potentially treat neurologic conditions, such as dementia, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and depression. The researchers have already made progress on the device, such as figuring out the best way to arrange detecters around the head.

Julie Ann Brefczynski-Lewis, West Virginia University

Source: Sharon Begley
Follow Sharon on Twitter @sxbegle