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MEG Users //

Information for MEG Users

As an investigator working with MEG, you will be responsible for some of the parts of a scan, depending on the specific protocol.  It is important that you become familiar with procedures related to the MEG.  All imaging and behavioral data collected at MRN is stored on MRN's network servers.  As part of study initiation, each investigator should receive a UserID and password to the data network.  In addition, you will also be given access to MEG specific procedures and documentation and you will be added to the MEG Users email which will allow you to receive important information about the MEG and connect with other users.  To request access, please contact researchops@mrn.org.

What is an MEG scan?
An MEG scan is a study of the magnetic activity in a participant's brain.  The participant sits in a chair or lies on a table so that his/her head is in the MEG helmet which holds MEG sensors.  The participant does some certain set of tasks that the researcher is interested in, such as listening to sounds, watching a visual task, and/or responding by pressing a button.  This all takes place in a Magnetically Shielded Room (MSR), because the size of the brain's magnetic activity is much, much smaller than the ambient magnetic noise in the environment, and this noise has to be blocked out to be able to detect the brain's magnetic activity.  The signals measured by the MEG sensors are sent to a computer outside the MSR.  Outside, a Research Associate (RA) runs the tasks that are sent inside the MSR for the participant to do, and an MEG Tech runs the Acquisition program to acquire MEG data.  Later, the data is analyzed and compiled with MRI images by the researcher's lab to determine what magnetic activity happened where in the brain during certain tasks.  There are six parts to a scan:  preparation, digitizing, after digitization prep, setting up participant in the scanner, running tasks / data collection, and clean-up.

Preparation:  Either the investigator or MEG Technician will prep the participant, depending on the specifics of the study protocol and billing arrangements.  Prep consists of:

Digitizing:  Once the participant is prepped, someone (usually the MEG Tech, occasionally the RA) digitizes the subject's head.  Digitizing is a process that allows the scanner to track where the measured activity occurs in the brain.  It makes a map of the outside of the participant's head, so that the MEG data can be lined up with MRI data.  While the MEG Tech digitizes, the RA sets up the stimulus.

Post-digitization prep:

Setting up participant in the MSR:

Running tasks / data collection:  Run tasks and collect MEG data during the tasks.  It is important to make sure that the participant is safe and comfortable at all times.  The RA will run the experiment stimulus.  The MEG Tech will run the Acquisition program to collect data.

General steps for running a task:

Clean-up:  The MEG Tech will assist the participant with clean up and the investigator will clean up the equipment.  In general, clean up includes:

Equipment Clean-up:

Participant Clean-up:

Additional Resources:

Operating Procedure for Research Assistants

MEG Investigator Checklist

Stimulus and Response Equipment