The research program is multidisciplinary including but not limited to collaborations between psychologists, neurologists, physicists, exercise physiologists, physical therapists, and nurses. Ongoing research studies use both structural and functional MRI to study brain responses associated reward processing, decision-making, emotion, motor control, and memory in both children and adults. These studies take advantage of the sophisticated imaging capabilities and data analysis facilities available at Hoglund Brain Imaging Center to examine a wide variety of topic areas and populations including obesity, addiction, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, and autism.
3T Siemens Allegra MR Scanner: The human imaging facilities consist of a 3 Tesla Allegra Siemens head-only MRI scanner. This system has been upgraded with a heteronuclear spectroscopy package to provide acquisitions of proton decoupled phosphorus and carbon spectroscopy among other nuclei in human studies. MRI compatible pulsed oximetry, blood pressure monitoring, and EKG recording is also provided by an InVivoMetrics system. MRI compatible EMG is also available (BrainVision). This system has a full array of acquisition software for clinical scanning that can be quickly and efficiently optimized for research scans under the guidance of the scientist advisors in collaboration with the investigators.
3T Siemens Skyra MR System: The Hoglund Brain Imaging Center has recently been awarded a federal High End Instrumentation grant to purchase a new state-of-the-art whole-body 48-channel 3 Tesla MRI scanner (Skyra, Siemens). The scanner provides a full array of standard and additional features including a variety of clinical MRI and MRS protocols, various head and body receive coils including a 12-channel head coil array that provides substantially enhanced sensitivity compared with that in the Allegra system. An AutoAlign option provides an accurate and reproducible positioning of imaging slices in the brain, which assures reliability of longitudinal studies.This equipment has now been fully installed and is available for the new studies.
Magnetoencephalography facilities include a 151-Channel whole head biomagnetometer system (CTF/VSM). This unit, which can be operated while a subject is either sitting or supine, consists of SQUID-coupled axial gradiometers arrayed within a helmet shaped cryogenic dewar. The unit is housed within a magnetically and electrically shielded room. System electronics allow for recording of neuromagnetic signals within a bandpass of 0-3000 Hz, with a digitization rate of up to 12KHz. Data can be recorded in both continuous and epoch modes. The system is also capable of recording 64 channels of simultaneous EEG. As needed, EEG channels can also be used to record EOG, ECG, EMG or a galvanic skin response. Associated with the system is a 3D position digitizer (Polhemus) that can be used to define the spatial location of fiduciary points on the head, the positions of EEG electrodes, and the overall head shape.
Fetal Magnetoencephalography (fMEG)
The Fetal Biomagnetometry Laboratory specifically designed for pregnant women, is housed in an adjacent shielded room. This system has 83 channels with SQUID-coupled gradiometers in an array designed to cover the maternal abdomen. A specially designed chair allows pregnant women to sit comfortably while the system non-invasively records simultaneous maternal and fetal magnetocardiograms. Fetal movements, such as body movements, hiccups, non-nutritive suck and breathing movements are also recorded. Longitudinal investigations of fetal movements, heart rate and heart rate variability allow investigators to better understand fetal neurobehavioral development and autonomic nervous system control of the heart. An ultrasound system (GE Logiq P5) is available for ultrasound examination of the fetus prior to the recording.
Cortical Magnetoencephalography (cMEG)
The MEG laboratory is currently supporting a number of studies conducted in collaboration with investigators from several other departments at KUMC and KU, including Neurology, Speech-Language and Hearing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science, Electrical Engineering, Bioengineering and Linguistics.
The ongoing studies take benefit from the millisecond temporal resolution of the MEG technique to provide insights into the dynamics of the evoked brain activity in relationship to a relatively wide range of neuroscience questions. These include: the correlation between evoked brain activity and behavioral profiles in children and adolescents with Asperger syndrome, the effects of language interventions on the evoked brain responses in children with primary language disorder, cortical mechanisms underlying reading of complex words (with direct impact on our understanding of language disorders such as dyslexia), and the characterization of the cortical responses to complex tactile stimulation (which can be used to assess recovery and/or support the development of novel interventional programs in stroke patients). Additionally, the MEG lab is also focusing on the development and evaluation of new approaches to the biomagnetic inverse problem to achieve improved estimators of the underlying brain generators in specific experimental settings.
Animal MR imaging and spectroscopy studies are carried out on a 9.4 Tesla Varian system. This system is equipped with an actively shielded magnet to minimize the stray magnetic field. This permits the housing of this system in the same building as the human imaging systems without impacting their operation with large stray magnetic fields. The animal system will be capable of implementing all the imaging and spectroscopic sequences that are available on the human system and it also provides a flexible pulse programming environment to allow implementation of new sequences in a rapid, user-friendly manner. The 31cm horizontal bore and three sets of gradients will allow studies of small animals including mice, rats, and small primates. The animal facility will include an animal holding facility for short term stays associated with imaging experiments and a small surgical suite for minor preparations. Anesthetic, respiration, and monitoring for animals in the imaging/spectroscopy system will be provided.